The Delhi government's latest order to pay salaries of teaching and non teaching staff of 12 colleges of University of Delhi which are funded by the state government from the students' society funds (SSF) is receiving immense backlash from the students and teachers' community alike.
The Delhi University Students' Union along with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has opened up a front against the Delhi government over its order on the issue. Meanwhile, the Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) has also opposed the order of the government.
The student body and DUSU said that they plan to mobilise the students to oppose this loot of students' funds. Apart from agitation and protests, they also informed that they would file a PIL against the Delhi government's order if it fails to repeal the order.
In the order which was released on Friday, Delhi government's Directorate of Higher Education cited "ongoing special audit and non-release of grant-in-aid" as the reason owing to the pending salaries of staff. It also stated that such actions have been taken in the past as well.
"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 installments of grant-in-aid (under the salary head) are released," the order read.
However, the order did not clarify whether the money, thus borrowed, would be later put back.
The DUTA strongly condemned the order and said that using SSC for paying salaries, the Delhi government is pushing the burden of salaries on parents and students.
"This fund is collected from students for organising extra-curricular activities and is, thus, plugged back into the system by colleges for students. By ordering usage of SSF for paying salaries, Delhi government is pushing the burden of salaries on parents and students. This is unacceptable, even as an interim measure," he stated.
The DUTA also said that the 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?" DUTA president Rajib Ray wondered.
The SSF cannot be siphoned for salary purposes on a permanent basis. This is neither justifiable nor sustainable, he added.
The teachers and principals of 12 Delhi government-funded colleges have been protesting since May against the delay in disbursal of grants to, which they claim is the reason for salaries remaining unpaid up to the last six months.
Around 1,200 teaching and 900 non-teaching staff members employed on a permanent basis in these colleges, apart from contractual staff which 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.
DUSU President, Akshit Dahiya said: "If the funds requisite for student endeavours are used for other purposes, how would the students have any funds to take over society activities? This fund stands to be received in the form of fees paid by the students and the government has no role in its acquisition, nor its contribution.
"The college level societies already face hitches accounting sufficient funds for their activities and many times, have to contribute from their own pockets. At such an instance when the society culture of the University which gives way to some of the finest student models in multiple fields is facing shortages of funds, the decision is only unfair. We will resolutely raise objections against this decision," he said.