Fearing ‘fund crunch’, Delhi University pushes for signing of central loans pact
Fearing “fund crunch” from next semester, the Delhi University (DU) administration has written to members of its top decision making body — the executive council (EC) — to send observations at the earliest on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) sent by the ministry of human resources development (MHRD).
Under the MoU — to be signed between the DU, the MHRD and the University Grants Commission (UGC) — universities have to mention methods of internal fund generation such as “fee hike” and the amount they wish to take as loan for development from the Higher Education Funds Agency (HEFA).
In an email sent to EC members on December 14, the office of deputy registrar said, “Kindly refer to the discussions held in the meeting of the executive council held on 27.09.2018/28-29.09.2018/03-04.10.2018 on the agenda pertaining to signing of tripartite MoU. During the discussions, it emerged that the members needed more time to study the draft and submit their opinion/observations. Accordingly, you are requested to provide your observations, if any, on the draft MoU at the earliest.”
In September, EC members had refused to sign the MoU, saying it would “privatise” the university. The UGC had later said that it would “withhold” funds if the university did not sign the MoU.
The MoU was sent by the ministry to the higher education institutions to across the country including the DU. The MHRD had also sent a reminder to the university for the MoU in June. HT had in August published that the DU did not received any grant from the UGC for the ongoing academic session due to the delay in singing the MoU.
According to officials familiar with the matter, work at DU would get “severely affected” if it fails to receive funds from January onwards. “The university has exhausted all its funds. It will need funds from January onwards for smooth functioning. It is very important to sign the MoU at the earliest to prevent any fund cut,” the official said, who did not wish to be identified, said.
The EC members have been opposing Centre’s proposal of replacing funds to educational institutions with loans through HEFA — a body set up by the Centre to offer 10-year loans to public institutes for infrastructure and re-developmental. “The MoU makes it mandatory for the signatory university to take loan from HEFA and annual increase in the fees of students. There must be wider public debate on changing the basic character of the higher education from grant-based to loan-based. We are not going to sign it,” said Rajesh Jha, an EC member.
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