The Delhi government’s Department of Higher Education has asked Delhi University’s Vice-Chancellor to take action against the principals of 12 Delhi government-funded colleges, accusing them of “inciting teachers” and “creating a hostile education environment” over funding issues. The principals, however, said they are facing financial issues with budget estimates having been reduced to approximately 75% to that of last year’s.
There are 12 DU colleges that are fully funded by the Delhi government, and tussles between them and the government over the release of grants has been a long-standing issue.
In a letter dated November 3 to V-C Yogesh Singh, the government’s Higher Education Director Ranjana Deswal said the principals have been “inciting teachers” instead of “managing the accounts properly”.
“Instead of providing UCs (Utilisation Certificates) on time, adhering to the conditions of pattern of assistance, managing the accounts properly, evolving mechanisms for generation of internal resources, the principals have been inciting teachers and staff by utterances, creating a hostile educational environment. The principals in their leadership role have been leading adverse critical and embarrassing chants,” the letter said.
The letter goes on to ask that disciplinary action be taken against the principals for violation of Central Civil Service (Conduct) Rules.
Following this, the University’s Assistant Registrar (Colleges) has asked the principals to provide all communications made with the Director of Higher Education and other related officials.
Atishi, Chairperson, Standing Committee on Education (Delhi Vidhan Sabha), said: “As per terms and conditions of the grant, it is necessary for college principals to submit Utilisation Certificates to get funds. However, the colleges delay this process in every quarter. On one hand, the colleges do not fulfil the basic process and on the other they turn around and say Delhi government is not giving funds… At the same time, it is concerning that the principals, while being party to the delay on the end of the colleges, incite teachers by spreading lies about the Delhi government not releasing funds.”
Principals of these colleges said they have written to the government over the reduction in their budget allocations for this year.
“In this year, we have written 10-15 times to the government over our grant requirements and our inability to pay staff salaries. Last year, funds of around Rs 42 crore were released for my college and this year, they have given us a budget estimate of Rs 30 crore of which we have received three instalments till now. In fact, our budget requirement for this year has increased to Rs 55 crore because the Government of India has increased the DA (Dearness Allowance) rate and HRA (House Rent Allowance), around 80 teachers and 24 non-teaching staff were promoted in the university’s promotion drive. With the three instalments, I can only pay teachers up to their September salaries according to their older pay scale, while they’re supposed to cover till December. If teachers agitate about this, what can the principals do?” said Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College Principal Hem Chand Jain.
Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies Principal Poonam Verma said across all the 12 colleges, budget estimates have been reduced to about 75% to that of last year. “We are not able to pay our teachers’ promotion arrears. We have been writing to the Delhi government, but I do not know what has irked them. There must have been some communication problem. We have not done anything to incite teachers, and teachers are conscious of their responsibilities,” she said.
A teachers’ group, Academics for Action and Development, has taken issue with the invocation of CCS Rules, stating that these rules do not apply to Delhi University. “A letter which has important implications for service conditions of university staff should not have been forwarded by the University without the approval of statutory bodies of Academic Council and Executive Council,” read a statement by them.