The Jawaharlal Nehru University Executive Council’s (EC) decision to “partially roll back” the hostel fee hike on Wednesday, 13 November 2019, failed to pacify the students who have been protesting against it since October 28. (As per a news report printed in The Hindu, dated November 14, 2019)
The EC decided that all students belonging to the the below poverty line category (BPL), excluding those who have JRF, SRF and other equivalent fellowships/ scholarships either from outside the organizations or JNU are eligible to be given 50% concession in the hostel charges” the Registrar said.
New Fee Structure
The refundable mess security deposit for all categories of students has also been rolled back from ₹12,000 to ₹5,500.
The room rent for a single seater at JNU hostels has been raised from ₹20 per month ₹600 per month for all students.BPL students would have to pay ₹300 for the same room. For a double seater, the room rent which used to be ₹10 per month has been now increased to ₹300 per month. BPL students need to pay ₹150 for the same room. Utility charges and service charges would be charged as per the actual and BPL students would get a 50 % concession.
What does the Union have to say?
The JNUSU said that the student community unanimously “rejects” the EC’s decision because it was taken without the consent of the student community. “The administration has refused to recognize our rights to influence the decisions that in turn influence our entire academic life” the union said.
The Registrar on the other hand said that the hostel fee had been approved by the EC with measures to take care of students of weaker sections.
The elected teacher representatives who were a part of the EC panel said that they were kept out of the loop. “These changes do not even remotely address the problem that JNU will be shutting its doors to students from underprivileged background through hike in hostel fee” the teachers said.
The whole scenario comes down to the attempt of commercializing higher education. The authorities need to understand that health and education are some of the fundamental facilities that every citizen of this state should be entitled to. JNU is among the very few institutions in our country that provides quality education and training at an affordable cost.
The students at JNU conducted a protest on Wednesday in front of the Convention Centre. They said that they would not leave the venue till the Vice-Chancellor addressed them directly. Widespread vandalism has been carried out across the hostels and even on the walls of Vice-Chancellor’s office.
Students demand complete rollback
The students said that they would continue to protest till there was a complete withdrawl of the draft hostel manual and that the partial rollback-apart from increasing the hostel fees by nearly 1000%- was silent on the fees on water and electricity supply that is to be imposed as per individual consumption.