Published: 16th November 2018
JNU slashes library budget by 80 per cent, students can't take outside books to study halls
The JNUSU President expressed the union's disapproval in the decision and the worry about the state of the education system
Ever heard of a university that stopped investing in books? As illogical as that might sound, the students of JNU worry that this may be the situation of their University's BR Ambedkar Central Library, as the authorities have slashed the library budget from Rs 8 crores to Rs 1.7 crores. On top of that, the students are now not permitted to bring outside books to the university's reading halls.
"We have been told that the UGC is not giving the money to the university. But our Vice-Chancellor Dr M Jagadesh Kumar is a member of the UGC. So, what is stopping him from to release more funds?" asks N Sai Balaji, the newly elected president, JNUSU. "They don't have funds to renew the subscriptions or to buy books but they have the money to call Sri Sri Ravishankar, Sadhguru and to buy new cars," he adds, in fury.
Balaji had just come out from a meeting with the university's Pro Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Financial Officer and the librarian when we spoke to him. What was decided in the meeting, we sought. He tells us, "Outside books were permitted in two reading halls in the library. But now, they've closed down one of the entrances to the halls, so that students could enter them only through the library," he says. "They said that I'm the only one rejecting the decision. Why will I not reject it? It's a scam that's happening here. If libraries don't have books, what are they going to do there?" he questions, worrying that the library will soon be converted into a 'Jio Library' where the students will read articles out of WhatsApp.
He also says that the students will fight a 'Do or die battle' against privatisation of education. "The Modi government has made a detailed plan to destroy universities and we'll fight against privately funded education," he says.