JNU fee hike row: HRD panel against mid-year change in fee structure, moots exploring other sources of funds

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New Delhi | Published: December 23, 2019 5:06:27 PM

The HRD ministry formed the committee after widespread protests by the student community against a hostel fee hike.

jnu protest fee hike, jnu fee hike, mhrd, jnu hostel fees before and afterJNU students during their march from the university campus to Rashtrapati Bhavan to ‘save public education’, in New Delhi (PTI/File Photo)

JNU fee hike issue: After several days of protests both inside and outside the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, a three-member committee formed by the HRD Ministry has recommended that there should be “no alteration of fees during the middle of the academic session” and that alternate sources of funding should be explored.

The panel was tasked to “recommend ways to restore normal functioning” of the university. The recommendations were made in a report submitted on November 24. The recommendations of the panel have not been taken into consideration yet.

Violent protests erupted after the JNU administration increased the hostel fee and introduced several new charges in the monthly hostel fee of the students. JNU students claimed that they were not part of the discussions to raise hostel fee. The furore and protests by students choked the roads in the national capital. The students were lathi-charged by the police for breaking barricades and attempting the march to Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhawan.

According to the initial hostel fee hike, service charges for maintenance, mess workers, cook and sanitation, and utility charges for power and water consumption were introduced for the first time. Rent for a single room was increased from Rs 20 per month to Rs 600 per month, and for a double-sharing room from Rs 10 per month to Rs 300 per month.

However, the JNU administration set up a high-level committee to further decide on the matter. The committee decided to give 50 per cent concession to all students and 75 per cent concession to Below Poverty Line (BPL) students.

The students pitched against the service charge component, which is earmarked for salaries of mess workers and other staff. The three-member panel recommended, “The manner of dealing with the salaries of university’s hostel staff should be a policy decision that needs to be taken by MHRD/UGC.”

The ministry formed the committee after widespread protests by the student community against a hostel fee hike. The committee had former UGC chairperson V S Chauhan, AICTE chairperson Anil Sahasrabudhe and UGC secretary Rajnish Jain as members.

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