NEW DELHI: While JNU students have hit the streets to protest against the recent fee hike which they claim they can’t afford, official data show a majority of the students don’t belong to the economically backward classes. Data for 2017-18 show that 58% of the students who took admission have reported their family income to be above Rs 12,000 per month. JNU insiders say there are students whose monthly family income goes past even Rs 10 lakh.
According to the university manual, students seeking admission are divided into three categories based on their income — those whose families have an income of less than Rs 6,000 per month, between Rs 6,000 and Rs 12,000, and above Rs 12,000. Merit points for admission are allocated based on these categories, with those belonging to the first category getting more points than the other two. The admission data of the past four years clearly show that a majority of the students belong to the third category.
Besides, the categorisation of students was done at least 35 years ago, based on the prices prevailing then, according to former university officials. Since then, income levels have risen and categorisation of poverty has been revised many times.
Protesting students, too, concede many can afford the fee hike. “At least 50% of the students can afford the hike but our fight is for the poor students,” said a protester. The continuing agitation forced the JNU authorities to partially roll back the fee hike even as the university announced that BPL students would get concession. But the students are unmoved with no end in sight of their agitation.
‘Consensual decision the best solution’
“The best solution to the problem is to form a committee comprising students, teachers, the vice-chancellor and (HRD) ministry officials and come to a consensual decision about the hike. The issue cannot be solved by just protesting against each other,” said JNU Professor Anand Kumar. Some former JNU officials and students are in favour of the hike.
“The executive committee met and recommended a discount of 50% to students falling under the poverty line...There has been some relief,” a former official said. “This is nothing in comparison with other universities. How many times can you give concessions? The university is giving a fixed grant every year... If expenses shoot up, you run to the UGC. They may give you more grant or they may refuse,” he added. Some alumni condemned the students and said the protest should be dignified.
- Over 100 briefly detained
- Some students injured as police allegedly baton-charged them
- Traffic affected in some parts of Lutyens’ Delhi
- The entry and exit points of three Delhi Metro stations near Parliament shut down temporarily
- The detained students were later released