Published: 21st September 2018
University of Hyderabad students have to pay more now as UGC, MHRD reduce funds
Several faculty members stressed on the "pressure" exerted by the UGC to cap expenses. One head of the department said these measures were just the tip of an iceberg
Students planning to take the entrance examination at the University of Hyderabad will have to shell out more from next academic year. Reeling under a budget crisis, the university management is likely to hike its entrance exam fee apart from charges for internet, water and electricity and convocation.
Citing the cut in funding received from Centre's Ministry of Human Resource and Development and University Grants Commission, the university has asked departments to take measures to reduce costs. A document on "Expenditure cutting and revenue generation" reveals that money spent as maintenance grants and on out-sourced staff would be reduced.
Already, the life sciences department has issued a circular that says all students and faculty members of the department must purchase the Milli-Q Water --the purest form of water-- required for experiments on their own. University spokesperson professor Vinod Pavarala confirmed that officials are discussing cost-cutting measures though there is no concrete proposal on the same, yet.
"The decision on Milli-Q water is at a micro level. It does not warrant accusations of privatisation as is being made out," he said. The document on cost-cutting pegs the university's total revenues at Rs 35 crore, of which Rs 25 crore come as grants from the UGC. The remaining amount is internally generated. Against this, the university incurs an expenditure of `55 crore.
On March 15, 2018, the university constituted a four-member committee to come up with suggestions that will help bridge the deficit of Rs 20 crore, by minimizing costs and generating new income. A faculty from the life sciences department, on the condition of anonymity, said that such a budget crunch would impact students from disadvantaged backgrounds, academic standards and quality of research. "For instance, a litre of Milli-Q water costs Rs 150. In a month, a student requires at least 30 litres of water. This translates to an additional monthly expenditure of Rs 4,500 for students, just on water. The faculty members are also against this new initiative as the decision was taken without keeping us in the loop." Meanwhile, some other departments are also reportedly cutting down on the guest faculty.
Several faculty members stressed on the "pressure" exerted by the UGC to cap expenses. One head of the department said these measures were just the tip of an iceberg. He alleges there are ongoing efforts to blur the lines between government universities and their profit-making private counterparts.
His theory is not without reason. "Introduction of self-financing courses in public universities, proposing charges for hostel services like water and power are attempts to make a student into a consumer. It shows that we are headed towards privatisation," he says.