The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has written to Delhi University, directing its Executive Council (EC) to approve the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), failing which funding will be withheld. With the varsity missing the June deadline, it has written to the Ministry stating that the same will be approved in the EC meeting. On Thursday, DU informed EC members that the meeting will be held on September 27.
The MoU — to be signed by DU, MHRD and the University Grants Commission (UGC) — pertains to the release of funds by the government to varsities, wherein universities have to state their ways of fund generation, such as fee hike, and the loan they wish to take from the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA). A previous reminder was sent to DU on June 1.
When the letter was first sent in August 2017, DU had constituted a four-member committee, with Pro Vice-Chancellor J P Khurana as chairperson. A member of the committee, on condition of anonymity, said a draft MoU has been prepared. “The three-page draft has been slightly customised to DU’s needs, stating that MHRD and UGC will be the source of funding. There is an aspect on HEFA, but I cannot recollect the details,” said the member.
The MoU states that varsities will spell out performance parameters, output targets in terms of details of the programme of work and an action plan for the implementation and monitoring of MoU and others.
The document also has a section called the “exercise of enhanced autonomy and delegation of financial powers”, which asks universities to “ensure gradual annual increase in the user charges/fee charged by it for various courses and facilities”. The document also mentions that release of funds and loans from HEFA for expansion of infrastructural facilities will depend on the institution’s performance.
Teachers have called this clause problematic, as the MHRD’s letter to universities who have already signed the document states that they have to generate funds from internal sources and pay the principal amount of the loan taken from HEFA.
“It is a document of enslavement to MHRD; we will oppose it tooth and nail. As it is an important matter, they should send us (the agenda) before the meeting,” said EC member Rajesh Jha.