After days of protest by the students against the hostel fee hike in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), on Thursday the University issued a statement providing the ground for the fee hike and said that it has a deficit of more than Rs 45 crore.

The varsity has released ‘Revised JNU Hostel Manual: Fact Sheet’, providing the breakage of Hostel fee, and also condemned the agitation of students.

In the statement, the varsity further said that the deficit is large because of the huge electricity and water charges as well as the salary of contractual employees.

“The UGC has given clear instructions to JNU that all shortfalls in the non-salary expenditures should be met by using the internal receipts generated by the University. Thus, there is no alternative for the IHA than to collect service charges from the students,” the statement said.

The UGC no longer allows the payment of salaries of contractual employees of the hostels of the varsity from the salary head of the budget. There are over 450 such employees working in the University, the statement said.

As per the preliminary estimates, the revised hostel charges for each general student is approximately Rs 4,500 per month, out of which Rs 2,300 is for food. The remaining amount which is Rs 2,200, BPL category students have to pay only 50 per cent. So, the total charge that a BPL student has to pay amounts to approximately Rs 3,400 per month.

The statement also mentioned, “This is to underline that there is a misinformation campaign which says that there is a massive hostel fee hike in JNU. In reality, service charges are being levied, which have been zero so far. For the sustainability of the University budget which has run into a huge deficit, it is necessary to levy the service charges in the hostel.”

Pointing out at the poor students, the statement said that there is a false propaganda that a large number of students are affected due to the revised hostel charges.

“It may be noted that out of around 6000 students who are residing in the hostels, 5371 students receive financial assistance in the forms of fellowships and scholarships,” the statement said.

The Fact Sheet released by JNU also dismissed the claims that the revised hostel charges in JNU are more similar than similar charges in other Central Universities.

“It needs to be underlined that JNU does not charge developmental fees, unlike other Universities. Moreover, the admission fee in JNU has been minimal for decades and no revision has taken place for more than four decades,” the statement said.

Citing the example of Central University of Hyderabad, the Fact Sheet said that the University charges admission fee of Rs 10,000 per annum while the JNU charges around Rs 300 per annum.

The Revised JNU Hostel Manual released by the varsity also criticized the students agitation against the varsity administration. It also condemned students’ action on the day of Convocation and vandalizing of the administration building.