New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is running a financial deficit of over Rs 12 crore, which is the reason it had to increase the hostel fee. University officials said this to an empowered committee formed by the government to solve the tussle going on between students and the administration over the fee hike, ThePrint has learnt.
With the protest by JNU students continuing for nearly a month now, the Ministry of Human Resource Development formed the empowered committee Monday to bring a solution.
As the committee held its first meeting with JNU deans and chairpersons Tuesday, the latter said the university is going through a fund deficit of over Rs 12 crore. The officials said it’s the financial backlog that forced them to hike the hostel fee, adding it was “unavoidable”. They also told the members of the committee that the university is trying to take other measures too to tackle the financial deficit, one of the committee members told ThePrint.
‘No lack of funds but mismanagement’
Faculty members and department chairpersons at the university, however, said it’s not the lack of funds but the mismanagement of funds that has led the university to this state.
“There is no lack of funds but mismanagement at the hands of the highest authorities in the university that has led to the current state. Rs 5 lakh was diverted to SpicMacay, Rs 16 lakh was diverted to the (JNU) Wives Association, which conducts cultural events. Many departments have been given excessive money without any accountability,” a senior faculty member in the know of things, who did not wish to be named, told ThePrint.
“These are the reasons that funds vanished and now the deans are talking about a deficit.”
The JNU Wives’ Association was in news some time ago after it planned a bridal themed event at the residence of Vice-Chancellor M Jagadish Kumar. The event, however, was cancelled after it drew criticism from the faculty and students.
JNU financial officer’s meeting with deans & chairpersons
Sources said the deans and chairpersons had met the JNU financial officer some time ago when some faculty members even raised the issue of “differential funding” for different departments.
At the same meeting, the sources said, V-C Kumar told the faculty members that JNU was finding ways to recover the deficit and one of that could be recovering money from institutions that have their buildings on the campus. These institutes include the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the National Institute of Immunology (NII) and a few others.
The university is learnt to have sent huge bills to these institutions for using their land. The agreements initially signed between the institutions and JNU was on a Re 1 exchange basis.
“V-C told us all that JNU’s financial problems will now be solved after the institutions pay up the bill. Later, discussion on increasing the hostel fee started,” said a source who was present at the meeting with JNU financial officer.
Two other faculty members ThePrint spoke to also blamed internal mismanagement for fund deficit, and alleged that funds are being diverted for “frivolous things”.
Earlier this month, Registrar Pramod Kumar also told the media that the university was forced to pay service charges and bills like electricity, water and sanitation from the general funds given by the University Grants Commission (UGC), which is why it was difficult for them to sustain on the current fee.
Calls and messages sent to Registrar Pramod Kumar for his response in this matter remained unanswered. This report will be updated as and when he responds.