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JNU protests: What is the hostel fee hike that students are protesting?

The JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) has held several protests since October 28, especially against the steep fee hike.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 12, 2019 6:57:01 am
JNU protests: What is the hostel fee hike that students are protesting? The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) has held several protests since October 28, especially against the steep fee hike. (Express photo: Praveen Khanna)

The ongoing protests against the revised JNU hostel manual reached just outside the convocation hall on Monday, where Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu was the chief guest. The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) has held several protests since October 28, especially against the steep fee hike.

What is the reason for JNU fee hike?

The JNU administration’s rationale for the hike is that the fee hasn’t been revised for 19 years. Dean of Students Umesh Kadam had earlier told The Indian Express that such a steep hike was a result of there being no revision in the fee for so long.

In a statement, the university Registrar has said that JNU has been incurring charges of Rs 10 crore per annum on account of water, electricity, and service charges, which it has been paying out of general funds received from the University Grants Commission (UGC).

This money could be used for the “upgrade and upkeep of hostels” if students started to pay for the services, the Registrar said. Currently, students do not pay these charges. Read this story in Malayalam

JNU protest: By how much have fees been raised?

Under the new hostel charges, students have to pay a service charge of Rs 1,700 per month. This charge did not exist earlier. Rent for a single room has been increased from Rs 20 per month to Rs 600 per month, and for a double-sharing room from Rs 10 per month to Rs 300 per month.

The existing and revised charges under different categories.

How has the JNUSU been protesting?

Former JNUSU general secretary Rama Naga said the proposal for a fee hike had been tabled earlier as well, but the union had succeeded in having it rolled back. However, the hike was not at this scale.

The JNUSU has cited the university’s annual reports to suggest that more than 40 per cent of JNU students come from lower-income groups and would not be able to afford the hike.

Last week, all five provosts of the University, who are in charge of the 18 hostels, either resigned or signed statements rejecting the new hostel manual, but said they did so under pressure from JNUSU.

The JNUSU said it had given the provosts two options — reject (the manual) or resign.

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