New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students have once again become a subject of intense public scrutiny due to their ongoing protests against the hike in hostel fee.
On Wednesday, the JNU administration announced a partial roll-back — reduction in fees for students below poverty line (BPL), with certain riders. But the students didn’t seem satisfied.
The fee hike — set to come into effect from the next academic year — will nearly double the annual fee for JNU students living in hostels from the current Rs 27,600-32,000 annually up to Rs 55,000-61,000.
The new fee includes a mufti-fold hike in room rent — from Rs 10/20 per month to Rs 300/600 per month. A new service charge of Rs 1,700 per month has also been added — taking the monthly hostel fee up to Rs 2,000-2,300. Other charges, like establishment (Rs 2,200 per annum), mess (Rs 3,000 per month) and annual fees (Rs 300) remain the same.
With the revised fee structure that will come into effect next year, JNU is set to become the most expensive central university.
Other central universities, like Allahabad University, Visva-Bharti University, Jamia Millia Islamia, among others are much cheaper. At present, JNU’s fee is on a par with most of these universities, with a few being cheaper.
The revised fee will make JNU more expensive than even Delhi University, currently at the top of the table with an annual fee of Rs 40,000- Rs 55,000, including food and accommodation.
A substantial increase in the JNU fee is because of the newly introduced service charge, which either does not exist for many universities or, is charged with the hostel fee.
Apart from Delhi University, other central universities largely charge an annual fee comparable to JNU.
For instance, Allahabad University students have to pay Rs 28,500 (on an average) annually for both food and accommodation. The Banaras Hindu University is cheaper, with students having to pay an average of Rs 27,400 annually. Uttar Pradesh’s other major central university, AMU, is significantly cheaper at Rs 14,400.
At Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, the annual fee is Rs 35,000.
The Vishva-Bharti University in West Bengal charges between Rs 21,600 and Rs 30,400 annually.
Universities in south India are far cheaper. The Hyderabad University charges Rs 500 on a per-semester basis for hostel fee (Rs 1,000 annually), and around Rs 13,000 for mess, bringing the annual total to Rs 14,000. Pondicherry University charges anywhere between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,200 for the same.
On an average, the Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya in Chhattisgarh charges between Rs 22,000 and 25,200 annually.
Of the 41 central universities in India, apart from the aforementioned names, the rest charge an annual fee in the range of Rs 15,000-Rs 35,000.
Why JNU students are protesting
Students in JNU have been protesting the hike, saying it will drive out most of the students who come from underprivileged backgrounds.
According to the protesting students, around 40 per cent of the students in JNU come from the underprivileged category.
The administration, however, has justified the hike saying there hasn’t been a revision in fees in the last 19 years. According to sources in the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, financial assistance schemes will also be brought in to take care of the underprivileged category of students.