New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration has come out with a detailed justification for its decision to hike hostel fee as the student agitation and the controversy over it rage on.
In a 66-page statement issued late Thursday, the university said it had to make the choice to increase the hostel fee due to a deficit of Rs 45 crore.
“Currently, JNU is having a deficit of more than Rs 45 crores. It is largely because of the huge electricity and water charges and the salary of contractual staff,” Prof Satish Chand Garkoti, JNU Rector II, said in the statement.
The administration further noted that 89 per cent of JNU students living in hostels are on financial aid, and that the university’s tuition fee is the lowest in the country.
“Out of the 6,000 students living in hostels, 5,371 students receive financial assistance in the forms of fellowships and scholarships,” the university said.
Garkoti added that the University Grants Commission (UGC) no longer allows payments of salaries of contractual employees of the hostel from the salary head of the budget.
“The number of such employees in the hostels is over 450. The UGC has given clear instructions to JNU that all shortfalls in the non-salary expenditures should be met by using the internal receipts generated by the University. Thus, there is no alternative for the administration than to collect service charges from the students,” said the rector.
He was referring to the new service charge of Rs 1,700 per month for hostellers.
JNU students have been protesting against the decision to hike hostel fee since the beginning of this month, claiming that the move would force a lot of students to leave the university. The hostel fee hike will make JNU the costliest central university.
Aid for some students and lowest tuition fee
In its statement, the JNU administration said the estimated revised hostel charges for students including three meals for each student would be approximately Rs 4,500 per month.
Out of this, Rs 2,300 is for food charges per month. Of the remaining amount of Rs 2,200, students from the economically backward or below poverty line (BPL) category will have to pay 50 per cent — in effect, Rs 3,400 per month.
The university also made a comparison of its tuition fee with four other central universities — Banaras Hindu University, Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Milia Islamia — and said it charges the least.
While these four charge between Rs 2,400 and Rs 8,000 annually for arts stream, JNU charges Rs 365. For science courses, tuition fee in the four universities varies from Rs 3,000 to Rs 41,000, while JNU charges Rs 364, according to the institution.
The statement, however, presents a generic description of courses and avoids going into the details of courses in any university. All courses mentioned have been categorised under BA/MA and BSc/MSc.