DU decides to increase university development fee

The Delhi University(DU) has decided to increase the annual university
development fee charged from students in view of reduction in capital
grants by the UGC, according to official documents.

This move will lead to a steep hike in fee of students, a section of
teachers said.

The university development fee (UDF) is a component of the annual fees
charged from students.

The varsity had constituted a university development fund committee to
consider allocation of funds for various activities like construction of
new buildings and procurement of laboratory equipment.

“At present, the university is receiving only Rs 600 per student per
year as UDF contribution which was implemented from the academic year
2012-13,” the panel said.


“Keeping in view the fund requirement as well as government mandate for
self sufficiency and reduction of capital grants by UGC (University
Grants Commission) as well as for creation of ICT (information and
communications) enabled infrastructure, the UDF amount should be revised
to Rs 900 per student per year,” it said.

The committee’s recommendations were accepted in the varsity’s Executive
Council meeting held on December 17 despite dissent by a few members.

The committee, comprising former pro-vice chancellor PC Joshi and
registrar Vikas Gupta, said that the UGC is not releasing sufficient
capital grant to the university for laboratory equipment and other
equipment for the last three to four years, and in the current financial
year allocated Rs 1.25 crore.

“With this very small amount, the university is not able to purchase
even a single laboratory equipment for departments. The departments are
regularly pursuing for providing funds for replacement/purchase of
laboratory equipment for academic and other research activities,” the
panel noted.

“The committee after extensive deliberations approved for allocation of
an amount of Rs 52 crore for purchase/replacement of laboratory
equipment of different departments, after exhausting all available
resources. The vice chancellor may be requested to constitute a
committee for allocation of funds,” it said.

Executive Council member Seema Das said, “Earlier this development fund
as collected by students, was treated by the university as emergency
fund. As in every household, some amount of money is never touched and
kept for difficult times, this UDF has been like this.”

Now, “forcing” the university to draw from UDF for infrastructure and
development will make the things difficult for scheduled castes,
scheduled tribes, other backward classes, economically weaker section
students, Das said.

“This will force steep hike in students fees,” executive council member

Rajesh Jha, a political science professor, and former Executive Council
member, said this move is like the university is “testing waters” for
implementing a fee hike.

“The fee hike is for a small amount but the university is seeing how
this will impact students. The committee has noted that there is a
shortage of grants from the UGC,” he added.

Abha Dev Habib, secretary of the Democratic Teachers’ Front, concurred
with Jha.

“At this point, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, no institution is
increasing fees but increasing fees, even if it’s minimal, is not the
right thing. The university is planning to start new courses and new
departments. From where will the funds be generated for this?” she said.

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