In JNU Fee ‘RollBack’, Only Students Belonging To Economically Weaker Sections Will Benefit

In JNU Fee ‘RollBack’, Only Students Belonging To Economically Weaker Sections Will BenefitStudents protesting at the JNU campus (representative picture) (Twitter/@DrVivekChouksey)

After announcing "major rollback" in the hostel fee and other stipulations, it turns out the Jawaharlal Nehru University administration has found a way to not capitulate before protesting students while accepting some of the demands.

In a press statement issued by the university Registrar, the university has kept the room rent same as proposed before and offered 50% relaxation for students from the Below Poverty Line(BPL).

The move came hours after the HRD Secretary R. Subrahmanyam tweeted that the JNU Executive Committee had announced a "major rollback" in the hostel fee structure, giving an impression that the university administration has bowed to the agitating students.

With the new statement by the administration, it is clear that the rollback has come with certain conditions.

"...To take care of students coming from weaker sections, the EC decided that all the students belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) category are eligible for 50% concession in the charges at single seated room rent, double seated room rent, utility and service charges," a press release by JNU Registrar said.

The students' category excluded those who are Junior Research Fellows (JRF), Senior Research Fellows (SRF) and have other equivalent fellowships/Scholarships either from outside organisations or JNU.

With the announcement, the students from BPL household will now have to pay Rs 300 as room rent for a single occupancy room and Rs 150 as room rent for a double occupancy room.

However the administration has made it clear that the one-time mess security deposit (refundable) will stay the same, bringing down the proposed hike from Rs 12,000 back to Rs 5,500.

Earlier, the charges were hiked from Rs 20 to Rs 600 for single room occupancy and from Rs 10 to Rs 300 for double room occupancy. These charges had not been revised for the last about 19 years.

The university also rolled back the alleged 'hostel curfew timings', which was a major bone of contention between the administration and the students.

IANS quoted Higher Education Secretary as saying "The students met the minister this afternoon and he acted giving them an assurance on a partial rollback. We want students to return to academics and stop the protest."

Equally, sources in HRD ministry argued that one can't keep threatening the system as they can't be given freebies forever. Fifty years of freebies can't be changed overnight, the university has to remain functional, protests over an obsolete entitlement seeking culture cannot be allowed to fester over time.

Subrahmanyam added that the ministry has taken a step back to allow peace to prevail. He said, "From the time it was established, this university has been the epicentre of an anti-establishment position. It is the nature of the beast, it is not about being anti-BJP or anti-X Y Z. This has become their credo. However, I can assure you that over time, you will see many more changes, the vice chancellor is working on many fronts".

IIANS quoted unnamed sources with HRD ministry as saying that students can't keep threatening the system as they can't be given freebies forever. “Fifty years of freebies can't be changed overnight, the university has to remain functional, protests over an obsolete entitlement seeking culture cannot be allowed to fester over time.”