Thursday 3 December 2020
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MHRD succumbs to pressure; JNUSU still not impressed

The MHRD secretary said the UGC, and not the students, will bear the burden of the increased amounts in the fee as well as the hostel charge

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Economy MHRD succumbs to pressure; JNUSU still not impressed

After Amit Khare, secretary of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), held two separate meetings with the JNU vice-chancellor and students’ union leaders on Friday, it was decided that, as of now, JNU students will not be charged the increased fees. The University Grants Commission (UGC) will pay the increased fees.

Notably, the cost of running JNU is about Rs 556 crore per year. Indian taxpayers instead of the students enjoying the education imparted there — plus the boarding facility and an expansive area in an expensive Delhi — pay Rs 6.95 lakh per student annually.

MHRD secretary Amit Khare said today that apart from the increased fees, the increased hostel charges will not be taken from the students as of now. Khare met Chairman of UGC DP Singh also and urged the UGC to bear the burden of increased fees and hostel charges. The UGC chairman accepted this request of the ministry.

The secretary said he had shared this information with JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh and other students who came to the ministry here on Friday. Khare urged the students to end the strike and return them to the classrooms.

Vice-Chancellor of JNU M Jagadesh Kumar reached the MHRD at 11:30 AM on Friday to meet JNU Registrar and Rector Khare. The JNU administration told the ministry that they made efforts to normalise the situation in the university, but many students were still adamant on the demand for withdrawal of the fee hike. The students’ union, in particular, is not ready to end its strike without withdrawing the fee hike, the administrators said.

After a meeting with MHRD officials, Ghosh said, “We stand by the demand of removal of the vice-chancellor but a decision to postpone the agitation against the hike in fees will be taken later.”

After the meeting, the vice-chancellor said, “There is peace in the university. We are now trying to start educational activities. JNU administration is available to help every student and now students should also come forward for their biggest objective (education).”

Kumar said that the registration date for the winter session could be extended if required. He said he had informed the students that the UGC would pay the increased part of the fees. Minister of HRD Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ issued an appeal in this regard, pleading with the students.

After this, at 3:30 PM, Ghosh and other students reached MHRD to meet Amit Khare.

The vice-chancellor has issued a statement, saying that all previous decisions taken by the MHRD relating to hostel fees are being fully implemented and regular classes will start in the university from 13 January. Kumar said the university administration could once again extend the last date of semester registration if required. Jagadesh Kumar said,

Thousands of students are registering for winter semester exams. The JNU admin is very flexible and we are doing everything to facilitate the students. There is a conducive environment and I appeal students to be back. Now there are no Service & Utility charges, students only have to pay room rent which is Rs 300. The money taken from students will only be utilised to give back better facilities to students. We also want that the report of the investigation comes and if culprits are recognised then we hope that they will be punished.

The students do not appear, however, in a reconciliatory mood. A protesting student said, “UGC may bear the increased fees and hostel charges in the current session, but after that, the fees will be increased again in the new sessions on the students.” Other students of the union including Ghosh said that the government and JNU must withdraw the decision on administration fee hike for all time to come!

Meanwhile, ‘Nishank’ posted a tweet saying he was saddened to learn from Delhi Police that the masked people who had vandalised hostels in JNU and assaulted students included students of the university.

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