The Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) top decision-making body on Wednesday announced a "major rollback" in the hostel fee hike, a senior official of the Ministry of Human Resource Development said on Wednesday, amid a massive protest by students over the issue. The officer said the JNU body also proposed a scheme to provide financial help to students from the Economically Weaker Sections.
"JNU Executive Committee announces major roll-back in the hostel fee and other stipulations. Also proposes a scheme for economic assistance to the EWS students. Time to get back to classes," Education Secretary R Subrahmanyam tweeted.
#JNU Executive Committee announces major roll-back in the hostel fee and other stipulations. Also proposes a scheme for economic assistance to the EWS students. Time to get back to classes. @HRDMinistry— R. Subrahmanyam (@subrahyd) November 13, 2019
After it became clear that the partial rollback was announced only for the students who are below the poverty line (BPL), the JNU students' union slammed the centre, calling the announcement "eyewash".
"We reject this sham propaganda and selective usage of facts which is eyewash. The HRD secretary, while announcing the so-called rollback, has the arrogance to advise us to: 'go back to classes'. With the fee hike still in place, not only students will be going out of classes but also out of the JNU," the student union said in a statement.
Students belonging to the BPL category - who are not availing any scholarship- will now be required to pay Rs 300 instead of Rs 600 for single rooms while they will have to pay Rs 150 instead of Rs 300 for double-occupancy rooms, news agency PTI reported.
The students under the category will have to pay only 50 per cent of the utility charges (water and electricity) and service charges (mess charges, sanitation charges and supporting staff services).
A JNU teacher has called the centre's move an attempt to mislead the students.
"The HRD Secretary tweet on 'Major Roll Back' of fee hike is misleading! In order to save their face and create a false narrative, JNU administration in collusion with the Modi government is fooling students and people of this country," the teacher told NDTV.
The students have said they will continue the protest.
The students, who had been objecting plans for what they claim is a huge hike in hostel fees, amped up their protest on Monday as the university held its convocation that was attended by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank'.
They had surrounded the building where the event was being conducted. The Minister was stuck for over six hours at the venue.
Hundreds of protesting students had clashed with the police on Monday. Policemen in riot gear, completely outnumbered by the students, were seen jostling with the crowd. The students, demanding a meeting with Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, were pacified by the HRD ministry officials, who assured their concerns would be addressed. The Union Minister had also met Aishi Ghosh, president of the JNU Students Union.
With inputs from PTI