Published: 22nd November 2018
You have money for RSS programmes but not 2k for a scholarship: JNUSU on unpaid scholarships
Students have apparently not been paid their MCM scholarship for 8 months, which though small in amount, helps poor student settle mess dues
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union has released a statement accusing the University of holding back 50 lakh rupees worth of scholarships. Money that would have helped students surviving off their Merit Cum Means scholarship - which hasn't been given for eight months - forcing them to pay from their own pockets.
For Nayan R, who is doing his Masters in Medieval History, the scholarship covers almost all his expenses and going without it for eight months has been extremely difficult. The biggest blow is that the scholarship used to cover the mess fee bill, which is the only major expense as a student on campus. Once before this, he had to do without it for five months.
"My mess fee comes up to about 2000-2500 rupees every month and the MCM covers that amount. Besides that, I have to spend on photocopies, study material and need some pocket money for other expenses. Now for the last eight months, I've been forced to pay from my own pocket and it has become very stressful for me, as I don't know how I can continue paying so much," he said. Since paying late also means paying a fine, the students are under that much more pressure, he added.
Nayan comes from a village called Sankarpur in Bihar and has been at JNU for the last one and half years. He says that he, like several other students in JNU comes from an economically marginalised background and the scholarship makes a huge difference to their studies.
In their statement, the Student Union has ridiculed the authorities for choosing to spend money on other "unrelated events". They also accuse the authorities of destabilising and diverting funds for RSS programmes. "It is important to note that the money for MCM is allocated from University funds and if the administration doesn't have money to release to students it only means the money is being illegally diverted for other purposes," the statement read,
The students have demanded that the administration release a detailed and transparent account sheet regarding the expenditure and allocation of funds. "Has the MHRD or UGC asked that JNU not disburse the fellowship amount?" the Student Union asks.
"It's not easy for students from economically difficult backgrounds to be able to pay the mess fee every single month from their own pocket. On top of that, we have to pay a fine if we cannot arrange the fees on time. How can we concentrate on our studies? Our exams are also nearing and not being able to pay mess fees will impact how we prepare for the exams. How can we work this way?" Nayan questioned.
Jnu authorities were unavailable for comment.