Funded Delhi University Colleges Exposing Kejriwal Government’s Poor Budgetary Position
Amid the coronavirus crisis in the nation’s capital, an emerging tragedy that has failed to focus is the state of Delhi’s 12 government-funded university colleges in Delhi. There has been no salary disbursement for teachers and non-teaching staff at these colleges since April of this year.
These colleges are – Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Mahrishi Valmiki B. Ed College, Maharaja Agrasen College, Shaheed Rajguru Women’s College, Deen Dayal Upadhyay College, Indira Gandhi College of Physical Education, Bhaskaracharya College, Acharya Narendra Dev Women’s College, Keshav Mahavidyalay, Bhagini Nivedita Women’s College and Mahavidyalaya Aditi Women’s College.
In addition to salary, there was no collection of medical bills, retirement bills and retirement benefits. The situation arose following the virtual bankruptcy of the Delhi government amid the coronavirus crisis. There are also reports that doctors working in Delhi public hospitals are not receiving their salary.
As the Delhi government led by Arvind Kejriwal kept its election promise of free electricity, water and free bus travel, it got lost on how to raise funds to pay the salaries of his employees. This situation in the 12-Delhi government funded colleges has created a classroom system within the University of Delhi.
The prestigious university has more than 80 colleges affiliated with it. At some 68 colleges funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC), salaries and other dues are paid on time. However, in 12 Delhi government-funded colleges, although governed by the same university statutes and ordinances, no payments have been made in the past three months. To understand what is at stake, we must delve into the history of the founding of these colleges.
In the 1980s, a proposal was presented to the Delhi Metropolitan Council, which was the predecessor of the Delhi Assembly, to establish more colleges given the ever-growing population of the national capital. As central funds were not available, it was decided that these colleges could be funded by the Delhi government (then called Delhi administration).
Thus some colleges were created around 1990. In 1993 Delhi obtained its legislative assembly and Madanlal Khurana became the chief minister. He gave impetus to this policy. Thus, by the time Sheila Dikshit came to power in 1998, 12 colleges had already been created according to this funding model.
Sheila Dikshit opposed the idea of opening new colleges under the University of Delhi and instead mapped out a roadmap for public universities. However, it also consolidated the work done by its predecessors and strengthened the existing 12 colleges by providing them with quality land, buildings and infrastructure to match the best of the colleges in the country.
Thus, across the national capital, enormous educational infrastructure has been erected, making Delhi an education center. In Dikshit’s time and before her, during the reign of BJP as well, funds never became an issue to run these colleges.
However, the Aam Admi Party (AAP), which came to power claiming it would open 100 new colleges in the nation’s capital, followed policies that caused a lot of disrepair in the system. Over the past six years, it has failed miserably to sanction grants to these colleges on a regular basis, under one guise or another.
Funding is important for the day-to-day operation of these colleges as they follow the standards prescribed by the University of Delhi, which requires the colleges to charge nominal fees to students and that these be used only for wellness activities. students.
Since most of these colleges provide education at the undergraduate level, they do not generate much funds from other sources like patents, intellectual property, etc., making them largely dependent on the government for their funding. The possibility of introducing self-funded courses is also limited given the constraints of space and time.
Even if self-funded courses were allowed, they would never be sufficient to replace government funding that comes in the form of wage subsidies, non-wage subsidies, and capital grants. While there may be problems with the government running out of funds during the pandemic, sometimes the delay in pay is also caused by political reasons.
Since the AAP government came to power, Education Minister Manish Sisodia has repeatedly stated that aid from these 12 colleges will be delayed in the event that the board of trustees of these colleges is not formed due to administrative delay at the university or government level.
The point to note is that teachers and other college staff have no role in forming the board. However, they are suffering due to the turf war between the university and the government over governing body appointments.
In the absence of funds, colleges have also been forced to make no permanent appointments to vacant posts, and teaching-learning and administrative work is carried out in a large number of cases by contract workers.
The same is true when it comes to maintaining infrastructure that depends on grants for capital works. Once the grant is sanctioned by the funding authority, it should be allowed to be purchased by the institution in accordance with due process. and consequently the non-use of Grant in-Aid.
This whole question of Delhi government’s failed budget management has jeopardized the careers of over two lakhs of students, the livelihoods of over 1,000 teachers and as many, if not more, of administrative staff. The solution probably lies with the University of Delhi, with the help of the UGC, which takes over the funding of these colleges and puts an end to a heinous system of fiscal diarchy that prevails in these colleges.
Warning:The writer is a seasoned journalist and political analyst. The opinions expressed are personal.