New Delhi: After continuous protests from students, the administration of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Wednesday decided to partially roll back the hostel fee hike announced last month.
The students are however not satisfied with the decision as the fee amount has been reduced only for students belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) category, that too with a number of riders.
While the monthly service charge of Rs 1,700 introduced for the first time remains unchanged, the eligible BPL students will have to pay only 50 per cent of it.
The university has said it will come up with schemes to assist students from the economically weaker sections.
Students protesting against the fee hike have been saying the university will become unaffordable to students from the underprivileged class, as almost 40 per cent of them come from that category.
According to sources in the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, however, the financial assistance schemes will be brought in to take care of this category of students.
The proposal to hike the JNU fees came in the first week of October. While protests started shortly after that, it intensified Monday when angry students blocked the road behind the university, confining HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal to the premises for almost six hours.
Pokhriyal was visiting JNU to attend a convocation ceremony.
Fee structure after hike and rollback
The fee for a double-seater room, which was supposed to go up from Rs 10 to Rs 300 has now been reduced to Rs 150 for eligible BPL students. For a single-seater room, the fee proposed to be hiked to Rs 600 from Rs 20 has been reduced to Rs 300 — for eligible BPL students, again.
BPL students receiving Junior Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow and other equivalent scholarships will not be eligible for the concession.
The service charge of Rs 1,700 per month, which students did not have to pay earlier but was introduced in the revised fee structure, will continue to stay. However, the BPL students will be charged only 50 per cent of it.
The proposed one-time mess deposit, which was increased to Rs 12,000 from Rs 5,500 has also been retained to its previous amount.
Also read: Are JNU students justified in protesting steep but long overdue fee hike?
Major rollback, says education secretary
The Executive Council of JNU took the decision to partially withdraw the fee hike after a meeting Wednesday. Higher Education Secretary R Subrahmanyam confirmed this, calling it a “major” rollback.
“JNU Executive Committee announces major rollback in the hostel fee and other stipulations. Also proposes a scheme for economic assistance to the EWS students. Time to get back to classes,” he tweeted.
#JNU Executive Committee announces major roll-back in the hostel fee and other stipulations. Also proposes a scheme for economic assistance to the EWS students. Time to get back to classes. @HRDMinistry
— R. Subrahmanyam (@subrahyd) November 13, 2019
Students are, however, not satisfied with the administration’s action. According to them, 95 per cent of the amount is made up of the service charge, which has not been rolled back.
“Government is trying to fool the students…they are just saving face. The major component of the policy was paying service charge and that has not ended. Ninety five per cent of the fee remains,” said N Sai Balaji, former JNUSU President who has also been actively protesting against the fee hike.
Also read: JNU hostel fee hike will drive out students, say protesters after hitting the streets
Dont you think subsidies should be directed towards primary education ?
My sister was in hostel in M S University Baroda when the agitation over mess bills started. The government needs to be more mindful of how economic pressures are causing pain to different sections of society. We want the hamdardi of a Mai Baap Sarkar.
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