DU teachers protest over non-payment of salaries; grant by AAP govt sporadic in past year, says DUTA
In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, the Delhi University Teachers Association highlighted that this was the first time that the grants for salaries and pensions were stopped by the govt
Twelve Delhi University Colleges under Delhi government have not been allocated sufficient funds since November to pay the teaching staff prompting the teachers to hold a protest march from the DU Vice Chancellor's Office to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence on Monday, January 15. The principals of these colleges are scheduled to meet the CM on Tuesday.
According to the staff in various colleges, the Delhi government is yet to release Rs 6.25 crore to DDU College in Dwarka, Rs 6.2 crore to ANDC College in Govindpuri, Rs 4.16 crore Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Science in Dwarka, Rs 3.25 crore to Maharaja Agrasen College in Vasundhara Enclave, Rs 1.85 to Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women in Vasundhara Enclave, Rs 1.5 crore to BNC College in Najafgarh, and Rs 32.5 lakh to Shaheed Sukhdev College.
The rest of the colleges are Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Maharishi Valmiki College of Education, and Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Science. All of these colleges are fully funded by the Delhi government.
In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) highlighted that this was the first time that the grants for salaries and pensions were stopped by the government. “For the past one year, the sanction of grants to the 12 colleges has been sporadic and inadequate. The inordinate and unexplained repeated delays in release of the grants is crippling institutions,” stated the letter. DUTA had sent a similar letter to the DU Vice-Chancellor on Sunday.
DUTA had called for a complete shutdown of colleges from March 11 as college staff of these colleges have not been paid for more than six months. DDU College teachers said they have not received their salaries after October. After the call for an indefinite shutdown, Delhi Government had on Friday, released Rs 82.79 crore under salary head and Rs 9.6 crore under other than salaries’ section.
DUTA President Rajib Ray underscored that these colleges were being forced to adopt a document called the ‘Pattern of Assistance’ issued by the Delhi Government’s Directorate of Higher Education. “The provisions of the ‘Pattern of Assistance’ aims to redefine the association of these 12 colleges with Delhi University and coerce them to gradually becoming self-sufficient and self-sustaining,” said Ray.
This means, Ray explained, that the Delhi government will sidestep its funding responsibility to these colleges and these institutions will have to increase fees to pay salaries. This would make college education unaffordable to most. Sources who did not want to be identified said all the principals got calls on this issue from the deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s office.
Giving in to pressure from the government, the governing body of two colleges - Maharshi Valmiki College of Education in Geeta Colony and Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and the Sports Sciences in Vikaspuri – passed a resolution stating that they would follow the pattern of assistance as suggested by the Delhi government and not that of the UGC.
However, DUTA office-bearers said the Delhi government cannot change the pattern of the assistance of these fully funded 12 state colleges as they were set up in accordance with the UGC norms, based on Delhi University Act, 1922. They are governed by rules and regulations of DU, which have been formulated within the framework of UGC rules. The government has been providing funds in accordance with UGC norms. College governing bodies cannot change the funding pattern as it is the executive council under DU which has the authority to make these decisions.
In the letter, DUTA pointed that, “The pattern of assistance document refers to these colleges as 100% Delhi government-funded and sponsored college affiliated to the Delhi University. These colleges have always been referred to as 100% funded Delhi government maintained colleges of DU. These are constituent colleges of DU. The change in manner of referencing strengthens the apprehension that the Delhi government, earlier tasked with maintaining these institutions, is now redefining itself as the sponsor of edu-business units to find ways of disaffiliating them from DU.”
The funding criteria, states the memorandum, in the documents mimic the policy states in NEP that there would be transparent pre-announced criteria for adequate funding equitably distributed among public HEIs on the basis of their plans and further funding will depend on their plans and progress.
“This is an attempt to move away from full funding to gradually reducing state funding. During the pandemic we saw how many teachers of private institutions were not paid salaries. That is what will happen here too,” explained Abha Dev Habib, assistant professor at Miranda House.
These 12 colleges - have been at loggerheads with the Delhi government over funds for a few months. The Delhi government claimed that these colleges had surplus funds and wanted the college to use these funds for salaries. The case had reached the Delhi High Court where it was observed that all the ‘surplus funds’ being claimed by the Delhi government were student funds.
In October 2020, the Delhi government directed these 12 colleges to exhaust the Students Society Fund (SSF) maintained by the respective colleges for the students. Delhi University Students Union filed a petition in High Court challenging this order. The Students Society Fund (SSF), which is entirely made up of the student fees, is meant for funding student societies at colleges, and the unspent amount is to be utilised only for student welfare.
The Delhi High Court stayed the Delhi government order asking these colleges to pay outstanding salaries to the staff from the Students Society Fund. The court said the state should have paid the salary to the college staff, instead of asking colleges to use the student funds.
“We will not allow student fees to fund our salaries. This cannot not be done. Once we move to paying staff salaries from student fees, then the fees will increase exponentially like they have in private universities in the country. Poor students will be the ones who suffer. The colleges should reduce the fees if there is a surplus amount,” explained Dev Habib.
The Delhi government spokesperson refused to comment on issue and stated that they would not release a statement on the matter too.