Published: 17th December 2019
SRFTI, FTII on hunger strike against 10% annual fee hikes and admission fee. Here's why
The three-year diploma at FTII will cost you Rs 3.89 lakh and Rs 4.55 lakh at SRFTI, including the security deposit. India's annual median per capita income is less that Rs 50,000
Six students of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) are on indefinite hunger strike against the admission fees of the film institute and the system of having a 10 per cent annual fee hike. They joined the four Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students who have been protesting the "exorbitant and discriminatory" fee hikes and admission fees from yesterday.
The three-year diploma at FTII will cost you Rs 3.89 lakh and Rs 4.55 lakh at SRFTI, including the security deposit. Incidentally, India's annual median per capita income is less that Rs 50,000. The students claim that it is unfair that a government-funded organisation should have such a steep fee structure. "They keep increasing the fee 10 per cent every year and that results in an exponential increase in fees. The fees have doubled in the past four years," said Rajarshi Majumdar, General Secretary of the FTII Students' Association. "The director came and told us that he was never involved in a fee hike decision but when we went and checked the minutes of a 2017 Governing Body meeting, we realised that he had proposed a fee hike then and argued about why they could not do without it," he added.
Filmmaking courses tend to be more expensive than your regular BA, MA courses as there is extensive use of expensive equipment. "They promised us a studio two years back but then we have nothing yet. They are taking the money but there has been no infrastructural development in the recent past. Where is the money going?" asked Rajarshi. "The cost of buying grip equipment for the cinematography course would be around Rs 41 lakh but the administration did not buy the equipment. They rented it for Rs 3 crore. This is a waste of money. Why should we be paying for such wastage?" he asked.
The exorbitant admission fee of Rs 10,000 for three courses keeps a large section of the population at bay, said SRFTI students. "This (fee hike and high admission fees) cannot be justified by any means as the steeply increasing fee puts the institutes out of reach for a large section of prospective students," said Manas Krishna, Vice-President of the SRFTI Students' Union.
And aspirants agree with the students. Ritagnik Bhattacharya, who wants to study at the FTII said that Rs 10,000 just to sit for an exam is a bit too steep for him to afford. "It is common for students to apply for multiple streams and if it (admission fee) is this high then most of the students won't be able to apply. The increase in fees has also been almost 115 per cent in the past few years," said Ritagnik.
Students also harped on the fact that people, in general, knew very little about film institutes and think that the courses are expensive. But it does not necessarily have to be so, they said. It can be a bit more expensive than a regular BA course but the fact that FTII and SRFTI are charging more than some private institutions is unacceptable, feel the students.