Don't hike fee: Panel recommends to resolve JNU crisis

Don't hike fee: Panel recommends to resolve JNU crisis

All India Students Association (AISA) member protests against JNU fee hike. (PTI Photo)

A three-member high powered committee (HPC), set up by the government to resolve the crisis in the JNU, had recommended for “putting off” revision of the hostel fee till the next academic session to restore normalcy in the campus.

In its report to the HRD ministry in November last year, the panel which included former UGC chief V S Chauhan as the member had also suggested that any changes in the inter-hall administration (IHA) manual of the varsity should be made only after wider participation and consultation among all stakeholders.

A sudden hike in the hostel fee structure and the introduction of the new IHA manual in the middle of the academic year were the main reasons leading to student unrest in the JNU, the panel had underlined in its report suggesting a host of measures to restore normalcy in the campus.

“Although the statutory meetings were held for reviewing and revising the hostel fees and the IHA manual, wider discussions with the students and teachers could have taken place,” the panel had noted in its report.

The HPC report, which was submitted to the HRD ministry amid massive protests by the JNU students against the hostel fee hike and changes in the IHA, was never made public by the HRD ministry even though the JNU students union and JNU teachers association kept on demanding for it.

Moreover, the recommendations of the panel, hurriedly set up by the ministry to resolve the crisis in the campus in view of unrelenting protests by the students, was accepted partially as the JNU administration remained adamant on its stand to hike the hostel fees, citing increased costs of running the facility and paucity of funds with it.

After a series of subsequent deliberations, the JNU administration agreed to partially roll back the hostel room rent when the HRD ministry assured that university grants commission (UGC) will bear the cost of the service and utility charges.

The JNU administration, students union, and teacher association in the middle of December last year had arrived at an agreement that the students will pay room rent of Rs 300 for a single bed and Rs 600 for a double bed and those falling in below poverty line (BPL) category will get 50% concession in them. The HRD ministry agreed that the UGC will bear the cost of service and utility charges.

The JNU administration had also agreed that it will convene a meeting of the IHA committee meeting to ratify the proposed changes in the hostel fee structure, as per the university statute. But, the varsity administration never called the IHA committee meeting for this and allowed the contentious issues to linger.

The JNU administration has also not taken any step so far to notify the JNU students union as per the orders of the Delhi High Court even though it had agreed for it in December last month.

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