The conflict between the Delhi government and Delhi University colleges funded by it is on the rise, with the DU Principals’ Association (DUPA) calling a recent order by the former — to release staff salaries from student society funds — “irrational, arbitrary and illegal”.
There has been an extended impasse between the Delhi government and 12 DU colleges fully funded by it. The colleges have been unable to pay salaries to their staff for several months — many since May — and have attributed this to the government not releasing requisite funds.
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In response, the government began a special audit in six colleges and accused them of misappropriating funds, stating the colleges have funds in their student society accounts.
On October 16, the government issued an order instructing the colleges to release all outstanding staff salaries from student society funds within two weeks. It went on to say it would only pay any amount of salary still pending after the student society funds are exhausted and a formal request is made.
The DUPA on Sunday said it was “outraged” and “dismayed” by the order, stating that asking colleges to exhaust their student society funds goes against students’ interest. As the fund belongs to students and is accumulated over years, DUPA said it is “meant for activities such as campus placements, skill enhancement, career counselling and gender sensitisation, meeting the expenditure of students with special needs, extracurricular activities, cultural functions and student exchange programmes, training women students for self-defence and maintenance of classroom infrastructure for which no grants are available”.
The Delhi government refused to respond to queries on the matter.
DUPA added the order “will completely stop activities for ability enhancement, soft skills learning and promotion of cross-cultural understanding among the students so imperative for their comprehensive personality development”. Another issue that has been brought up several times by colleges after the Delhi government began pointing at student society funds is that payments cannot be made from funds with a different purpose.
On Sunday, the DUPA stated the order is outside the government’s jurisdiction: “UGC norms and guidelines mentioning sources of income and expenditure are binding on all institutions of higher learning. These norms stipulate that only approved items of fee collected from students can be taken into account while releasing grants to colleges. Any fund collected by the college other than these approved items of fee are treated as self-generated resources and are allowed to be utilised for the purpose for which they are collected.”
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