Kapil Kajal | Nov 19, 2019 | 9 min read
On October 29, the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) carried out a protest against the introduction of new hostel policies, which included curfew restrictions and fee hike among other things, by the administration. Since then, JNU students have been protesting against the hike saying that it will cause the students from financially challenged backgrounds to drop out, as 40% of the students in JNU belong to the below poverty line (BPL) category. The fee hike will increase the annual fee for JNU students living in hostels from the current Rs 27,600-32,000 to Rs 55,000-61,000, reported The Print. With the revised fee structure that will come into effect next year, JNU is set to become the most expensive central university. The administration introduced a partial roll-back for BPL students on November 13 and have told the committee formed by the government that the university is running a financial deficit of over Rs 12 crore, which is the reason behind the hike. Why can't students from above poverty line pay more? Shiv Jha, an engineering graduate from Kolkata The fee hike in JNU is justified because it’s the first time in 19 years that it's hiked while keeping in mind the current inflation and market. The students are from varied backgrounds, and while the 40% of the students belong to the underprivileged category, the rest 60% is also enjoying the same kind of benefits and those students should be charged and only students who need economic assistance should get the benefits of the subsidised rates. The fee charged from the rich should be used to help the poor. The university will also levy a service charge of Rs 1,700 per month, which is a great move since that money will be used to improve the infrastructure. While the other institutes face constant fee hikes, JNU shouldn’t be an exception. It is unfair to the students of other government-funded institutions such as IITs and NITs who pay much higher fees than students of JNU even after the fee hike. The return on investment on people from these institutes is also high since they help improve the economy of the country. However, the return on investment of these JNU students is not much, and they hardly contribute to the country’s growth. Even after getting so many subsidies from the government, they are not doing good for the country. We, the taxpayers, pay their fees and they are hardly contributing anything to society. Apart from that, they are protesting against the curfew of 11 pm. Every university in the country has a curfew so it is irrelevant to argue for timings. The enforcement of curfew will only increase the security inside the campus. The students can sleep, study in the hostel and a proper discipline will be maintained. Students will stick to their aim rather than roaming around in the night. We have seen the best institutes are those, where there is rule enforcement like the armed forces. So whatever the JNU students are doing is just a publicity stunt. It's a fight for the rights of all the students Kapil Kajal, an engineering graduate from Lingaya's University, Faridabad The students of JNU are not only fighting for their rights but also fighting to improve the Indian education system. What they are doing is totally justified because increasing fees from the institutions are taking away India’s dream of educated youth and is oppressing the already marginalised groups. The students of JNU are not the only ones protesting, students from IIT Bombay, IIT BHU and Ayurveda colleges in Uttarakhand are also protesting fee hikes in their respective institutes. The best universities in the world are totally free or subsidised and the government in the developed countries hope to provide subsidised education. India spends only 3.8% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education, which is less than what Bhutan, Zimbabwe or Kenya allocate to education. The government underspends the budget allocated for education in four out of the last five years, which amounted to Rs 4 lakh crore. JNU is one of India’s best universities, and it is the only Indian university apart from Delhi University which appeared in the Times Survey of the top 500 humanities universities in the world. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council gave JNU the maximum Grade A++ ranking, which shows that it’s a model institution for others to follow. A sudden increase in fees will affect the education of students who belong to the BPL category. Not only in JNU, but the fees should also be reduced everywhere with time, not increased. Increasing the fee will increase the load on parents, and parents who are still facing the problems to give the fees of their children, they won’t be able to manage due to rising inflation. And if we can give subsidies to our politicians and construct the world’s tallest statue, our students shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of the government’s misplaced priorities.
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