The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has “condemned the persistent threats” given by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to Delhi University (DU) into signing a tripartite agreement, if it does not want its funds to be stopped. The teachers’ body said this was akin to “arm-twisting”.
The Indian Express had first reported that the MHRD had written to DU saying its funding would be withheld if it did not sign the agreement.
“The DUTA condemns the MHRD’s persistent attempts to force Delhi University to sign the Tripartite MoU between DU, MHRD and UGC under Rule 229(xi) of the General Financial Rules 2017. Repeated threats, issued by the MHRD, that DU’s grants will be stopped unless the Tripartite MoU is signed, amounts to cheap arm-twisting and authoritarian suppression of DU’s academic independence,” DUTA president Rajib Ray said in a statement.
“The MoU is both devious and pernicious. While it pretends to seek ‘qualitative improvement in output’ along with ‘commensurate input requirements’, it binds the university to commercialise its activities and ensure structures that facilitate private players in higher education. This Tripartite MoU does not involve any commitment on the part of the UGC and MHRD for making additional funds available to the universities. Instead, it makes universities commit to raise ‘user charges/fees’ to ensure that ‘its various courses recover the maximum cost of providing services’, to fund infrastructural requirements through loans from HEFA to be paid back by the universities through greater resource generation/cost recovery and earning revenue though other forms of commercial activities,” he added.
The DUTA also said the MoU “pushes the task of expansion of student intake explicitly to the existing universities which would require more teachers, non-teaching staff and physical infrastructure for which MHRD and UGC do not commit any funds but the universities have to self-finance since student intake target is one of the components of outcome measurement system laid down in the MoU.”