Delhi

HRD panel visits JNU, talks to stakeholders

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University releases 66-page rationale for hike in charges

The three-member committee set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to restore normalcy at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) visited the campus to speak to all stakeholders on Friday.

Students had formed a human chain from the main gate of the university to the Administration Block to welcome the committee members, but they were brought in through a different gate.

The committee conducted meetings till late in the evening to assess the situation, and talked to student representatives, teacher representatives and Deans who represented the administration earlier at Shastri Bhawan. They also accepted memorandums from all the stakeholders.

The JNU administration released a 66-page document offering their version of what had been going on in the university since the Inter Hall Administration (IHA) meeting on October 28, following which the protests against the hostel manual had started.

‘₹45-crore deficit’

It said that student protesters indulged in a mass misinformation campaign that the draft hostel manual was prepared undemocratically. In fact, the manual had been prepared after a systematic consultation process that went on for about two years before a notified committee submitted its report to the Dean of Students in 2018, stated the administration.

Providing a rationale for the hostel fee hike, the administration said that the last revision of hostel manual was undertaken in 2005.

“JNU has a deficit of over ₹45 crore. It is largely due to electricity and water charges, and the salary of contractual staff. The UGC no longer allows payment of salaries of contractual employees of the hostel from the salary head of the budget. The number of such employees in the hostels is over 450. The University Grants Commission has given clear instructions to JNU that all shortfalls in non-salary expenditures should be met by using internal receipts generated by the university. Thus, there is no alternative for the IHA than to collect service charges from the students,” said the JNU administration.

It added that misinformation was being spread that the hostel fee had been hiked massively. “In reality, service charges are being levied, which have been zero so far. For sustainability of the university budget, it is necessary to levy the service charges in the hostel,” the university stated.

It added that out of the roughly 6,000 students residing in the hostels, 5,371 receive financial assistance in the form of fellowships or scholarships. The administration further said that it was not true that the revised hostel charges are more than in other central universities.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 4:01:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/hrd-panel-visits-jnu-talks-to-stakeholders/article30055171.ece

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