A letter from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) to central universities, stating that General Financial Rules will be implemented with immediate effect, has raised questions on whether fees of students will have to be increased.
According to the terms of the General Financial Rules (GFR), the university needs to strive for financial self-reliance. A Delhi University teacher said that one way of achieving this is by “increasing the fees of students”.
The letter, sent to all central universities on November 2, asks institutes to submit the fund utilisation certificates in the format provided by the commission. In the certificate, universities are required to update the funds received, funds that are not utilised, and the interest earned on the unutilised amount.
Teachers said this letter is a follow-up of the Office Memorandum (OM) in January, sent to autonomous organisations. The OM stated, “While giving concurrence to the implementation of the revised pay scales, the financial advisers of the organisation shall ensure that the extent of the government support be kept at the minimum and in no case the government support shall be more than 70% of additional financial impact.”
“This OM clearly stated that universities will be responsible for generating 30% of the funds themselves. There is only one way of doing this and that is by increasing fees, which will hurt students from financially poor backgrounds,” said a member of the DU executive council, the university’s highest statutory body. Teachers said Rule 229 of the GFR asks the university to find ways to generate its own revenue.
On similar lines, the universities were asked to sign an MoU in August this year. The MoU had asked universities to figure out ways to generate “funds from other resources”, which included user charge in the form of fees, user charge other than fees, alumni donation, extra mural funding from other departments/ministries of Government of India, extra mural funding from other resources, and other resources not covered above.
“It is clear that the government is headed for a funds cut and is making a push towards privatisation,” claimed a member of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association. UGC chairman V S Chauhan could not be reached for a comment.