In a Public hearing organised by the Delhi University Teachers' Association, the teachers of 12 colleges fully funded by the Delhi government shared their accounts of difficulties arising out of denial of salaries. The teachers maintain that they did not receive their salaries for the previous six months after Delhi Government went ahead with a fund cut. Addressing the meet, AK Bhagi, President, Delhi University Teachers Association, said that the implications of fund cuts could lead these colleges into a self-financing mode, which will exclude poorer students from higher education.
Hem Chand Jain Principal, Deen Dayal Upadhyay College, said that the Delhi government should understand that it is handling institutions of national prominence and was belittling their contribution by not releasing the required grant.
"My college is ranked at 13th position by National Institutional Ranking Framework across the country. Shaheed Sukhdev College of Commerce is one of the country's top business schools. What are you doing to these precious institutions! Presently, our college needs Rs 48 crores for salaries, pensions, water and electricity bills, and arrears as per seventh pay commission. The Delhi Government has refused to pay any money for arrears arising out of promotions. If I leave this out, we still need Rs 35 crore for paying salaries, water, electricity and other charges till December."
He added that the financial crisis is taking a toll on employees health as more and more hospitals are denying treatment and demanding advance money from patients. The crisis is so much worse that one of our employees who had his liver transplant scheduled was denied treatment and asked to submit an amount of Rs 13 Lakh.
"After much effort, the required money could be arranged. This person worked all his life honestly, and he deserves respectable treatment. We could not give him a dignified treatment!"
Delhi Government is arguing that it can fund the deficit amount as per the memorandum of understanding between the colleges and Delhi University, and the colleges should arrange funds on their own. It funds 28 colleges in all – 12 fully and 16 colleges partially. The 12 colleges are Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education & Sports Science, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Shaheed Raj Guru College, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Acharya Narendra Dev College, Bhagini Nivedita College, Keshav Maha Vidyalaya, Maharaja Agrasen College, Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Maharishi Balmiki College of Education and Bhaskara Charya College of Applied Science.
Sixteen colleges that are partially funded by the Delhi government are Shivaji College, Motilal Nehru College, Laxmi Bai College, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Maiteryi College, SPM College for Women, Satyawati College, Vivekanand College, Rajdhani College, Kamla Nehru College, Gargi College, Swami Shardhanand College, Kalindi College, Bharti College, Sri Aurbindo College and Delhi College of Arts and Commerce.
Ashok Agarwal, Member, Executive Council, noted that the fund cut in higher education could not be seen in isolation from school education.
"The episodes only suggest the Delhi Government officials lack a sound understanding of how education works. We are now witnessing multiple layers of discrimination introduced in schools with Schools of Excellence and Open schools. As far as fund cut is concerned, the denial of salaries is contrary to the provisions of Article 21 of the constitution which guarantees protection of livelihood."
Ravneet Singh Bittu, Member of Parliament from Anandpur Sahib (Congress), who was invited to speak at the hearing, said that the Aam Aadmi Party should explain why there is double-speak in the capital and other parts of the country.
"As a member of parliament, I am perturbed by the way the teachers are treated in this central university. Kejriwal has spoken across the country that employers should not be stopping employees' salaries, whereas his government is indulging in the violation. No institution of higher education which are critical for forming critical thinking in our students deserve this."