The students are demanding the withdrawal of the draft hostel manual, in which service charges of Rs 1,700 were introduced and the one-time mess security fee, which is refundable, has been hiked from Rs 5,500 to Rs 12,000.

Around 40% of students admitted to JNU in 2017 had a parental income of less than Rs 12,000 per month, as per the university’s annual report for the academic year 2017-2018. This was underlined by the JNU Students’ Union in the memorandum submitted to HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. The Union said the hike would mean these 40% of the students “will have to leave and probably discontinue their education”.

According to the JNU report, 1,556 students were admitted to the varsity across various programmes in 2017. Of these, “623 came from the lower and middle income groups whose parents’ income was less than Rs 12,000 per month and 904 from the higher income group with an income over Rs 12,001 per month and 29 did not fill details.” JNU protests 

The university has not released its report for 2018-2019. According to the 2016-2017 report, 43% of those admitted in 2016 had a monthly parental income below Rs 12,000; and the report before that stated that 39% of those admitted in 2015 belonged to that income bracket.

In the memorandum, the students’ union pointed out that the hike in hostel charges becomes more stark when contextualised with the family incomes of the university’s students.

The memorandum also points out that scholarships the students receive from the university do not hold up against these increased fees. BA and MA students may receive a merit-cum-means scholarship (MCM) of Rs 2,000 per month while M.Phil and Ph.D students may receive non-NET fellowships of Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000 per month.

According to former JNUSU president N Sai Balaji, 70-80% of BA and MA students receive the MCM scholarship while around 90% of M.Phil and Ph.D students receive the fellowships.

The memorandum also raises attention to the last date for mess bill (about Rs 2,500) payment being changed from the 24th to the 15th of the month, and the draft mentioning that if the bill is not paid before that date, the room would be locked. “The draft also mentions that a defaulters’ list be put up which would name students… this is an instrument to publicly humiliate, intimidate and ultimately exclude students from marginalised backgrounds,” read the memorandum.

Courtesy Indian express