Days after an RTI revealed that Delhi University’s Acharya Narendra Dev College (ANDC) was using a software worth Rs 60 lakh to allegedly mark students’ attendance, another RTI revealed that the college would continue to pay for the software till 2020. This would result in the total cost crossing Rs 1 crore, as per calculations done by the teacher who filed the RTI.
Former Academic Council (AC) member and Zoology teacher Monica Misra, who filed the RTIs, had earlier found that the college spent Rs 59,97,568 on purchasing the Entrance Resource Planning (ERP) software between 2014 and September last year. This included a one-time deployment fee of Rs 4,26,968, and Rs 6,44,000 in salary to the transformation manager (at the rate of Rs 23,000 per month). The software was purchased through an MoU with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
“As per the same calculation of Rs 14,42,100 spent on ERP every year, including the one time deployment fee as well as the salary given to the transformation manager, we have calculated that by the end of 2020, the college would have spent Rs 1.03 crore. This figure also includes the estimated cost of tablets given to roughly 120 teachers (Rs 36,000),” Misra said.
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Reacting to the cost, college principal Savithri Singh said, “We’re talking about an entire college’s expenditure, not some small unit. I pay roughly Rs 1.8 crore in salaries to teachers every month. If we take the software on a trial basis, it works out to be very expensive. The whole process was very transparent; the software was demonstrated to 23 teachers.”
Singh also said the software has 22 different functions in the college, including in admission, grading and examination, library and placement.
However, teachers said the software was primarily being used to mark attendance, with some additional functions in the library.
Teachers have also raised concerns over the cost of the software as well as the procedure preceding the purchase. “Was there any analysis or discussion done on why the software was needed in the first place? Why couldn’t they have used the software on a trial basis? How was TCS picked as the company? None of these things are being answered,” Misra said.
Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president Rajib Ray also wrote to the ANDC principal on December 22, asking her to “reveal the MoU signed between TCS and the college authorities to all stakeholders of ANDC”.
To address the reservations of teachers, college bursar Amit Garg sent an email on January 1 to teachers. “No services come free of cost. College is paying substantially lower, with staff members as free users, than the prevailing market rates charged by other service providers. The other service providers are charging approximately Rs 200 per month per student,” he wrote.
He also said the college got “almost 10 lakh hits by students on our ERP portal every month” and that TCS was selected following “due process”.