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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Behind Delhi govt-DU college tussle, issues over control and usage of funds

A major question running through the conflict is the nature of these colleges and their relationships with the Delhi government, DU and the UGC.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: March 16, 2021 7:50:15 am
Delhi government, DU teachers teachers, Delhi University colleges, Delhi news, Indian express newsOn Saturday, identical resolutions by members of Governing Bodies (GB) of two colleges sought to alter the manner in which grants are released to them.

Conflict between the Delhi government and 12 Delhi University colleges fully funded by it escalated over the past week — teachers protested against the government over non-payment of funds and the latter alleged financial mismanagement by colleges. On Saturday, identical resolutions by members of Governing Bodies (GB) of two colleges sought to alter the manner in which grants are released to them.

The resolutions passed in the meetings of the two colleges — Maharshi College of Education and Indira Gandhi Institute of Education & Sports Sciences — state that they do not have to follow UGC guidelines for funding since they are not funded by them and will instead “follow the Pattern of Assistance for release of grant-in-aid to 100% funded Delhi government-sponsored college, affiliated to University of Delhi”. They also state all 12 member colleges have surplus grant-in-aid excess drawn and available with them and direct them to use those funds for salaries.

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Question of control

A major question running through the conflict is the nature of these colleges and their relationships with the Delhi government, DU and the UGC. From principals to the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), the common refrain is that these colleges are referred to as being affiliated with DU, while in fact they are ‘constituent colleges’.

“These are constituent colleges governed by Delhi University Act, 1922. They are governed by rules and regulations of DU, which have been formulated within the framework of UGC rules. Because they are funded by Delhi government doesn’t mean it will be governed by rules and regulations of the funding agency,” said former DU Executive Council member Rajesh Jha.

DUTA also raised reservations along similar lines in a letter to the DU V-C on Sunday.

“The document [Pattern of Assistance] refers to these colleges as ‘100 % funded Delhi government-sponsored college, affiliated to University of Delhi’. These colleges have always been referred to as 100% funded Delhi government-maintained colleges of Delhi University. These are constituent colleges of DU. The change in manner of referencing clearly strengthens the apprehension that the Delhi government, earlier tasked with maintaining these educational institutions, is now redefining itself as the sponsor of edu-business units to find ways of disaffiliating them from Delhi University,” the letter stated.

On funding

“There is one major implication from all this: They are trying to utilise funds raised from students to pay staff salaries,” said DUTA secretary Manoj Sinha. “Apart from grants, colleges try to generate their own resources, which they save for student activities… If UGC gives a college grants under certain heads, it asks for accounts under that head… What the Delhi government is saying is that until all money available with the college is used, no further grant will be given. ‘If we have given you grant of Rs 40 crore and you have raised Rs 4 crore from your own means, give us accounts for Rs 44 crore’,” he added.

Last year, the DU assistant registrar of colleges had clarified in a letter to one of the principals concerned that, “colleges are allowed to collect funds for specific purposes under the heads College Development Fund, Hostel Funds, Student Society fund, Admission Processing charges, etc., and can be utilised only for the purposes for which these are collected and/or development of infrastructure. These college funds cannot be treated as revenue/income for determining maintenance grant…”

The Delhi High Court had also stayed an order by the Delhi government that Students Society Fund be used to pay outstanding salaries. The two GB resolutions state that surplus amount ‘minus Student Society Fund’ be used to pay salaries.

However, colleges argue that surpluses being referred to are still funds generated from students. In a press conference last week, Delhi government’s representatives in the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College GB had stated even after subtracting the student society fund, the college had a surplus of around Rs. 6.48 crore.

“Of this surplus, they are referring to Rs 2.5 crore which is student security — their caution money, which is refundable. Rs 1.6 crore is hostel funds including fees collected this year, which we have to refund by March 31 as the hostel was not functional. Rs 2.3 crore is from college development fund; how can I use that for salaries?” said DDU principal Hem Chand Jain.

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