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No Delhi govt funding for DU colleges: BJP alleges AAP vendetta, DUTA backs govt

Priyata Brajabasi | Updated on: 1 August 2017, 21:42 IST
(Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Getty Images)

On Monday, Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister and education minister Manish Sisodia announced the state government was withdrawing funding from 28 Delhi University colleges. He directed the finance department to freeze the release of funds following the non-formation of governing bodies for these colleges for the last 10 months.

But now, the Delhi BJP has alleged that these were not formed because the Aam Aadmi Party was pushing for its own people on the governing bodies.

State BJP president Manoj Tiwari told Catch: “The formation of the governing bodies for these colleges has been pending because of the AAP itself. The Arvind Kejriwal government, instead of nominating persons of intellect and proven academic record, has been pushing for its party activists and supporters to be part of the governing bodies, and that does not match the DU guidelines.”

Constitution of the governing bodies

Of the 28 state-funded colleges, 12 are fully funded by the government, while the other 16 are partially funded.

Each of these colleges has a governing consisting of 15 members – 10 of whom are recommended by the Delhi government, and approved by the university's executive council (EC). Five of those 10 members are selected from the list sent to the government by the university, and the government can select five on its own. The remaining five members of each governing body are the principal of the college, two university representatives and two teachers from the colleges on rotation.

The tenure of these governing bodies is one year. The tenure of the last governing bodies ended in October 2016, and since then, all 28 colleges have had no governing body.

AAP counters

Atishi Marlena, education advisor to Sisodia, told Catch: “This is an absolutely unprecedented incident. The Delhi government has repeatedly written to the Delhi University since September 2016 to send us a list of names that is usually approved by the university's vice-chancellor and the EC. The Delhi government finally got the names in February, and sent them back our selected list and our very own list. They told us that the format of the list was wrong. We sent them the list back in the said format. That was in March. The university sat on the list for months.

“On 14 July, when the executive council finally sat to approve the list, we were told that members of the executive council wanted to review the list of names they sent us in the first place. In fact, they do not even have an issue with the names that the government sent them, but with the initial list they sent us. This is absolutely shocking.”

Marlena added: “We had to take such stringent action because we are hearing reports of corruption in these colleges, which are being funded by tax-payers' money. Since, there isn't a governing body in any of these colleges to look after the administration and the finances; we hear that the funds aren't being used appropriately and teachers are being hired without approval. The Delhi government will not fund these colleges unless the governing bodies are formed immediately.

“The BJP members of the EC are the ones who have raised issue with the list of names. Now that permanent faculty hirings are taking place in Delhi University, they are worried that the AAP will have more support in the governing bodies of these colleges.”

DUTA supports govt stand

Even Nandita Narain, president of Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA), has admitted to mismanagement by the university administration. She told Catch: “The complaint from the Delhi government is completely justified, because of the way the DU has continuously derailed the process of appointment of governing bodies of these 28 colleges for more than 10 months. For the past 10 months, the governing bodies of these colleges have been reduced to five members (principal, two university representatives and two college teachers), which is a violation of the Delhi University Act.

“The Delhi government has written letter after letter to the university, the timeline that he [Sisodia] laid out yesterday is absolutely correct. In fact, even DUTA wrote to the administration saying that the process of appointment of permanent faculty cannot take place without proper governing bodies in all the colleges.”

Emergency meeting

The EC has, on Tuesday, called for an emergency meeting of its members to discuss the government's decision.

Rajesh Jha, a member of the EC, told Catch: “In no case should the financial grant be linked to administrative matters. The decision is going to jeopardise the teaching-learning process, and puts the future of thousands of students into uncertainty. Without funds, practicals cannot be run, books cannot be purchased for the libraries, and salaries of the employees cannot be released. Such a crisis of funding needs immediate deliberation, so that appropriate action can be chalked out.”

First published: 1 August 2017, 21:42 IST
Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB

Priyata thinks in words and delivers in pictures. The marriage of the two, she believes, is of utmost importance. Priyata joined the Catch team after working at Barcroft Media as a picture desk editor. Prior to that she was on the Output Desk of NDTV 24X7. At work Priyata is all about the news. Outside of it, she can't stay far enough. She immerses herself in stories through films, books and television shows. Oh, and she can eat. Like really.