After 15 days of protest against the fee hike at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, students got a minor relief as the administration reduced Rs 1,800 from the Semester Mess Advance (SMA) component of the fee structure. However, students plan to continue with relay hunger strike starting Saturday, demanding complete rollback of fee hike.
In a statement issued on Friday, IITB Students Against Fee Hike, the protesting students’ collective, stated: “This decision is merely a correction of the wrongful and unnecessary double collection. But the reduction in SMA can in no way be considered as accomplishment of our objectives. Our resistance is for keeping public education institutions economically accessible to all.”
A student explained, “The SMA component of the fee structure included the hostel amenities fee. However, as per the new fee structure, the hostel amenities fee was being charged under the semester fee but it was never removed from the SMA, making it double collection. We pointed out the error during the open house on July 26 following which the administration has rectified its mistake. Even as this reduces the overall fee amount, our protest does not end with it.”
Ten protesting students have been finalised who will be sitting for the relay hunger strike on Saturday and Sunday, five on each day. The future plan of action will be decided later as students hope to receive a positive response from the administration in two days.
Students at the premiere technology institute in Mumbai’s Powai area are raising their voice against the exorbitant fee hike in Master’s and PhD courses. As per the information provided by students, the fee structure for both is increased by 45 per cent, in the recently declared fee circular for the autumn semester. Students are complaining how the fee hike comes as a burden immediately after the pandemic.
Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox
“The fee hike is imposed based on fee policy designed pre-pandemic, which is not justified,” said a student. Adding to this, another elaborated on how a 15 per cent fee hike was slated in the year 2020 but was deferred due to pandemic. “Along with approving a 15 per cent fee hike in 2020, the fee committee had also recommended that there can be a five per cent fee hike every year. As per this calculation, the fee hike should have been 25 per cent. However, the actual imposed fee hike is much more than that,” said a student.
The break-up fee structure for existing Master’s and PhD students shows significant increase under all the heads, except the tuition fees, taking the total fee structure from Rs 16,500 to Rs 23,950. For new admissions, however, there is a jump in cost of tuition fees too. For PhD, the tuition fee for new batches is Rs 5,000, which was Rs 2,500. Whereas for Master’s students, it has increased to Rs 25,000 from Rs 2,500.”