Published: 07th December 2019
This is not the first fee hike in 40 years: JNU admin mislead the Parliament claim teachers
The teachers say that the administration concealed that in addition to the room rent, even before the current revision, there already existed several other heads under which students were charged
The Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Ramesh Pohriyal, on November 5, in a written reply to Rajya Sabha had said that the Jawaharlal Nehru University has informed that the fees were increased after 40 years in order to meet the increased expenditure and to run them on a no-profit-no-loss basis. But the JNU Teachers' Association disagrees. This response, they say, was a clear case of the JNU administration deliberately misleading the Parliament of India on the reasons as well as the extent of the fee hike.
The teachers say that the administration concealed that in addition to the room rent, even before the current revision, there already existed several other heads under which students were charged — the mess bill, mess security, establishment charges, crockery and utensil charges, newspaper charges, etc. "While the mess bill is as per actual cost of food and has increased enormously over the last 40 years because of the rise in food prices, the university has increased the other charges too," said the JNUTA. "Several of them were doubled as recently as January 2018. The revision in the charges that students are opposing includes new heads of charges to be levied on students – namely utility and service charges - and the major part of the increase in fees is through these heads. By levying them the administration wants to shift the expenditures that have till now been its responsibility, including the salaries of hostel staff, on to the students. This is by no means a change that can be justified in the name of covering increases in expenditures for running hostels," added JNUTA President Dr DK Lobiyal.
The teachers reiterated that if what is now being proposed is implemented, the annual hostel charges paid by resident students would increase by Rs 15,600 to Rs 19,200 — over and above the Rs 30,000-35,000 they were already paying before the present round of revisions. "If the actual intention of the Vice-Chancellor was to be carried through, the increase would be of Rs 27,600 to Rs31,200 immediately — and an additional increase of the refundable mess security from Rs 5,500 to Rs12,000. If this is not a significant hike, what is?" asked JNUTA Secretary Dr Surajit Mazumdar.
This alleged deliberate manipulation of facts to conceal from the Parliament the shift to a self-financing model of running hostels and the full extent of the increase in fees that it would result in is inexcusable misconduct on the part of the administration of a public institution created through an Act of Parliament, said the JNUTA. "The Vice-Chancellor of JNU must be held accountable for this and the JNUTA will raise this matter with the Honourable Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and also inform the members of the House who asked the question," read a statement from the teachers.