Students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay on Friday withdrew their week-long relay hunger strike against fee hike. The decision was taken in the evening, following a proposal presented by the institute administration, which assured considerable reduction in fees, including the increased tuition fee for post graduate (PG) and PhD students, which had seen the highest spike.
The relief comes after a fee committee considered the representation made by the student body relating to the demands of protesting students and recommended a sizeable reduction in the fees. According to the administration, these recommendations will now be presented before the board of governors for a final decision. The meeting is likely to be held on August 19.
According to students, the tuition fee for new admissions in PG and PhD courses, which was hiked from Rs 5,000 to Rs 30,000 and Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000, respectively, would now be reduced by half.
As per the proposed recommendations (accessed by The Indian Express) by the fee committee, the new concessional fee for PG and PhD admission would be Rs 15,000 and Rs 3,750, respectively.
Existing students – though their tuition fee was not hiked – are to be provided a considerable relief in all other components of the fee structure, including charges like medical fee, hostel rent, electricity and water charges, mess establishment fee, examination fee, gymkhana fee, students benevolent fund and student accident insurance fund, among others.
The administration had already provided partial reduction in the hostel amenities fund on August 5, which will continue. The reduction in all other components would be applicable to all, including UG, PG and PhD new as well as existing students.
“We consider this proposal as a partial but substantial victory… We could get at least some monetary relief for all students in form of the reduction in fees. The students came together and exhibited extraordinary resolve during this phase,” read a statement issued by IIT Bombay Students Against Fee Hike – a student collective that spearheaded the protest.
The statement also mentioned that the strike will be intensified if the proposal is not accepted by the board of governors.
An official from the IIT administration, however, said that the reduction in fee is likely to have an impact on infrastructural projects of the institute. “The repercussions may not be understood immediately, as this is expected to hamper the institute’s plans in the longer run, especially the infrastructural development. The institute has to generate funds to repay the loans taken for infrastructural development.”