Use student funds to pay salaries, Delhi govt tells 12 DU colleges; teachers decry move
The 12 colleges include Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Shaheed Rajguru College for Applied Sciences for Women, Maharaja Agrasen College and Acharya Narendra Dev College, among others.Updated: Oct 17, 2020, 09:35 IST
Twelve Delhi University colleges, fully funded by the Delhi government, which have been unable to pay salaries to teaching and non-teaching staff for the past several months for want of funds/grants from the government, were Friday told the directorate of higher education to utilise the student fund to pay salaries within two weeks.
Citing the pending salaries of staff owing to “ongoing special audit and non-release of grant-in-aid”, the directorate of higher education ordered, “Outstanding salaries to teaching and non-teaching staff be released immediately from the Student Society Fund (SSF) as has been done in the past, till the process of special audit is completed/further instalments of grant-in-aid (under the salary head) are released.”
The government did not clarify whether the money, thus borrowed, would be later put back.
No sooner had the direction been issued than it came under fire from teachers, including members of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), which said it was “unacceptable to use student funds for paying teachers their salaries”.
Maintaining that employees of at least six government-funded DU colleges are without salaries for six months, DUTA president Rajib Ray said, “Using Students Society Fund (SSF) for pay the outstanding salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff is unacceptable. This fund is collected from students for organising extra-curricular activities and is, thus, used by colleges for students. By ordering that colleges use SSF to pay salaries, the Delhi government is pushing the burden of salary payments on to parents and students. This is unacceptable, even as an interim measure.”
The 12 colleges include Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Shaheed Rajguru College for Applied Sciences for Women, Maharaja Agrasen College and Acharya Narendra Dev College, among others. There are around 1,200 teaching and 900 non-teaching staff members employed on a permanent basis in these colleges, apart from contractual staff.
DU teachers and principals have been protesting since May against the delay in disbursal of grants to 12 government-funded colleges, which they said is the main reason for salaries remaining unpaid for the past five to six months. The government, last month, attributed this delay in releasing funds to the alleged financial irregularities in these colleges and ordered special audits of these colleges. Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia later said the initial reports of the audit showed misappropriation of funds in at least four colleges.
The department also said if any salaries remain unpaid even after SSF is exhausted, the remaining amount will be covered by the government on “receipt of a formal request from colleges”.
Teachers are decrying the move. “Even in the past, if colleges were forced to use SSF for such purposes, the money was borrowed from the account and was always returned as soon as grants-in-aid were released. The SSF cannot be siphoned off towards salary payments on a permanent basis…Audits are routine matters for any institution and salaries have never been stopped on this pretext earlier. Why should it be any different this time?” Ray said.
The Delhi government, in a statement, said, “The lawyer representing Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College had stated in court that they have paid salaries from the SSF in the past. When the judge asked him whether they are allowed to do so, he said “yes, they are -- all they need is a permission from the directorate of higher education”. They should also be asked to present any document that states that this is illegal. The reason they now claim this is illegal is because this fund is discretionary, to be spent by principals, and there is corruption in how the money is spent.”