NEW DELHI :
The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Wednesday partially rolled back the proposed fee hike, restriction on hostel entry timing and dress code after a two-week-long protest by students and urged students to return to classrooms.
“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," higher education secretary R. Subrahmanyam said.
Though the secretary said that the university is devising a scheme for financial assistance to poor students, the university in a statement said that most of the concession it has decided will not be for all but for the students of the below poverty line families.
“...All the students belonging to below poverty line (BPL) category (excluding those who have research fellowships and other equivalent fellowships/Scholarships either from outside organizations or JNU) are eligible to be given 50 % of concession in the charges," the university said.
Under the new norms, the room rent for single occupancy, originally proposed at Rs.600, will now be Rs.300. For double occupancy, hostel the rent has brought back to Rs. 150 instead of Rs. 300 for the poor students. Before the proposal it was Rs.20 and Rs. 10 respectively.
JNU students, however, called the announcement misleading.
“The portion of Service charge and the policy of students paying for salaries of mess workers, hostel staff, hostel maintenance & other charges which the admin conservatively estimated to be ₹1700 along with electricity & water remains! Meaning 95% of the fee hike remains," said N Sai Balaji, a former JNU students’ union president.
Students said the revised fee hike will not benefit much as 27% of the JNU students’s family has a monthly income of less than Rs. 6,000 and more than 40% has a family income of less than Rs. 10,000 per month. “Instead of destroying JNU, authorities should create few more JNUs to offer excellent education for almost free," said Lata Kumari, a JNU student.
Earlier in the day, varsity students protested outside the office the University Grants Commission, demanding an intervention and a direction to JNU vice chancellor to meet the protesting students. The Executive Council (EC) of the university had met Wednesday forenoon but had left out some of the teachers’ representatives. The VC has not met them yet. On Monday, hundreds of JNU students had staged a massive protest and clashed with the police.