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Big Win for Haryana University Teachers as Khattar Government Reinstates Grants

Ravi Kaushal |
The U-turn comes at a point when the issue was taking a political shape after opposition parties accused the ruling BJP of pushing privatisation through loans in higher education institutes in the state.
Big Win for Haryana University Teachers as Khattar Government Reinstates Grants

Image Courtesy: PTI

Haryana University teachers, on late Thursday evening, clinched a big win after the government revoked its earlier order regarding the provision of loans to eight state universities. The fresh letter issued from the office of the additional chief secretary, Department of Higher Education to registrars of the universities said that the government would continue to provide grant-in-aid, and it never intended to create any liability on the universities.

The letter, accessed by NewsClick, read: “The intent of the earlier U.O note was not to create any liability but to encourage universities to exercise their independence, autonomy and emerge as vibrant institutions of high quality. It is with these objectives that the government will continue to provide and support universities as being hitherto with necessary grants-in-aid as per requirements.”

The letter further read that note was written to ask universities to “Maintain subsidiary asset register as per the recommendation of Comptroller and Auditor General of India to enable appropriate provision for maintenance of capital assets of the universities in state government’s annual budget every year. This approach would help the state government to account for said asset as a capital asset instead of a revenue asset thereby enabling government to continue to provide financial assistance to maintain these assets on a continued basis and address the concern of lack of adequate resources with universities to maintain these assets.”

The letter added that the universities, including the Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, Chaudhary Devi Lal University Sirsa, Bhagat Phool Singh Women University, Sonipat, Indira Gandhi University, Rewari, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat, Chaudhary Bansi Lal University, Bhiwani, Chaudhary Ranbir Singh University Jind, Mahrishi Balmiki Sanskrit University were given Grants-in-aid worth Rs 59 crore, Rs 23.75 crore, Rs 10 crore, Rs 12.50 crore, Rs 4.50 crore, Rs 7.25 crore, Rs 10 crore, Rs 5.50 crore and Rs 8.75 crore respectively.”

The teachers of the state universities have been locking horns with the Haryana government over the issue as they contended that the measure would be catastrophic to millions of students hailing from socially and economically marginalised sections.

Talking to NewsClick, Vikas Siwach, President, Haryana Federation of University and College Teachers Organisations (HFUCTO), said that consistent strikes by teachers over the last five days compelled the government to revoke this undemocratic decision. It would have decimated the prospects of any higher learning for students hailing from marginalised communities.

He added,” The university teachers will continue to resist any move that suggests lending of loans instead of grants. Generally, the universities receive monetary assistance under planned grants and non-planned grants. Planned grants are meant for infrastructure expansion, whereas non-planned grants cover wages and salaries etc. Statutes of different acts govern the universities, and these acts clearly mention that the government will provide grants, not loans. The universities teachers would not tolerate any move towards privatisation.”

Manjit Singh, secretary of the Students Federation of India Haryana state committee, told NewsClick that the government had no choice but to revoke it because the resentment in the students’ community was already growing over increased fees and other issues. He said,” we had organised protests in Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Jind and Rohtak over the issue. The students could understand the impact as they were already struggling with other issues. It resembles the fact that organised struggles do achieve demands. However, our main struggle remains against the national education policy, and we will keep mobilising students against it. The government had introduced the loans in the name of NEP only. So, its impact is very clear, and we will resist it tooth and nail.”

The issue had clearly emerged as a political one after opposition parties accused Bharatiya Janata Party of pushing privatisation through the loans. Congress and the CPI(M) have alleged that the move would be detrimental to the students whose families are already struggling with increasing rural indebtedness.

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