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JNU fee hike partially reduced for poor students, protests to continue

The decision to rollback the fee hike was taken at the university's Executive Council meeting, which had to be shifted outside the campus at the last moment fearing agitation by students. The students have been protesting against the fee hike, pro...

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 13, 2019, 10.34 PM IST
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On the issue of fee hike, there are unconfirmed reports that the so-called major rollback has happened only in room rent.
NEW DELHI: The JNU administration today announced a partial rollback in the fee hike for students falling in the BPL (below poverty line) category, and has also withdrawn two controversial clauses that required students to be “dressed appropriately”, and return to their hostel rooms by 11pm.

However, students who are protesting say they will continue their protests until the fee hike is withdrawn in full.

Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have been protesting a hike in hostel fees for the last few months, with protests intensifying in the last two weeks. On Monday, according to reports, students prevented the exit of Union Minister for Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal for six hours. Water cannons were also used against students.

So far, the vice-chancellor has refused to meet with students. However, the VC put out a statement on Twitter today detailing the partial roll-back in fees and hostel regulations.

Room rents have been raised from Rs.10 and Rs.20 a month to Rs.300 and Rs.600 a month for double-sharing and single rooms respectively for all students, including BPL category students if they have JRF, SRF or other equivalent scholarships, according to a document put out by the institute’s vice-chancellor Mamidala Jagadeesh Kumar on Twitter. The refundable mess security deposit, which was proposed to be increased to Rs.12000 from Rs.5500 has been rolled back and kept the same as before.

The utility charges and service charges, which were earlier non-existent, will now be based on actuals.

However, the charges for students in the BPL category has been reduced to Rs.150 and Rs.300 per month for double-sharing and single rooms respectively. Utility and mess charges will be half of “actuals”.

The clause in the new hostel manual that required students to “dress appropriately” when coming to the dining hall has been removed, along with the one requiring students to be back in hostel at 11pm or half an hour after the library closes, whichever is later.

Union education secretary R Subrahmanyam said on Twitter today that the JNU executive committee has announced a “major roll-back in the hostel fee and other stipulations.” He also said they the committee has proposed a scheme for economic assistance for EWS (economically weaker section) students. Subrahmanyam ended the tweet saying “Time to get back to classes.”

Students affiliated with the ABVP had picketed the UGC (Unversity Grants Commission) office in the evening today. A few students representatives later met with UGC officials. According to ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad) national convenor for central university work Lalit Pandey , the UGC has agreed to release Rs.6.7 crores worth of funds in lieu of the utility fees, after “clearing formalities with the JNU administration”.

JNUSU (JNU Students Union) vice-president Saket Moon said on Twitter that the fee hike amounted to a “rustication” order for students with family income below Rs.144000, who make up 40% of the student population in JNU, according to him.

Pandey said that students would continue with their protests until the fee hike was rolled back in toto (in full).

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