Big win for JNU students, panel recommends roll back in fee hike

Jawaharlal Nehru University, JNU, hostel fee hike, Jawaharlal Nehru University Teacher’s Association, JNUTA, DK Lobiyal, Surajit Mazumdar
The committee has recommended 75% reduction in utility and service charges for all the eligible BPL students who would be charged ₹500 in place of ₹2,000 per month. Photo: PTI

A high-level committee set up by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration in a midnight circular on Tuesday (November 26) recommended rollback to the hike in hostel fees. Student’s cutting across the political divide had taken to the streets against the administration’s move.

The committee has recommended that ₹1,000 per month may be charged in place of ₹2,000 per month towards utility and service charges for all the students. The committee also recommended 75% reduction in utility and service charges for all the eligible BPL students who would be charged ₹500 in place of ₹2,000 per month.

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It is expected that 75% concessions in utility and service charges to eligible BPL category students and 50% concessions to the rest will go down well with the student community and stakeholders at large, the JNU administration said in its circular.

Responding to the development, Jawaharlal Nehru University Teacher’s Association (JNUTA) said, “The midnight circular titled “Press Release”, which carried the recommendations of the ‘High-Level’ Committee (HLC) appointed by the ‘Competent Authority’ that have been supposedly “approved by the Executive Council through circulation”. In the meanwhile, we are yet to hear anything about the recommendations of the High Power Committee (HPC) appointed by the MHRD. The issue of this latest circular and the process that preceded it are a clear reflection of the Vice-Chancellor’s desperation to salvage his position even after his continuation in office has become untenable.”

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Congratulating the students for their spirited struggle against the administration, DK Lobiyal, President, JNUTA told the The Federal said, the support student’s received from teachers and the wider public has forced the administration to concede. “The hostel charges announced after this second revision continue to represent a not insignificant increase of about ₹1,500 per month over the existing charges. More importantly, the new category of fees like utility and service charges that reflect a move towards a self-financing model, or a transfer of the University’s responsibilities on to students, are still present in the structure of hostel charges. This is thus leaving open the possibility that the University administration’s goal will be ultimately achieved through subsequent increases in the charges under these heads.”

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Surajit Mazumdar, Secretary, JNUTA said that the students have achieved an important step forward in their struggle to defend JNU’s character as an inclusive public university. “The struggle is by no means over. This is true not just given the larger context of attack on publicly funded higher education but also in relation to the immediate issue of hostel charges. The JNUTA reiterates its position that the revisions in hostel charges must be fully withdrawn and any changes in the Hostel Manual should be considered only after due deliberation and discussion in statutory bodies with the full participation of all student representatives.”