On Friday (September 9), the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) accused the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of not providing proper remuneration to the teachers and appointing political activists as heads of the varsity’s governing bodies.
DUTA also urged the Central government to take over colleges, which are currently run by the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. In total, 12 DU colleges are directly funded by the Delhi government while 53 colleges receive funds from the University Grants Commission (UGC).
A K Bhagi, the President of DUTA, alleged that misgovernance was pervasive in various Delhi government-run colleges. He said, “Due to fund deficit, a pay cut of teachers is happening for last 2 years in 12 colleges under Delhi government. We’ve held demonstrations outside CM’s house, gone to the Deputy CM, nobody listened to us.”
Delhi | There’s misgovernance in 20 more colleges under Delhi govt. Governing bodies in those colleges have been politicized, AAP workers appointed as members: AK Baghi, DUTA President
— ANI (@ANI) September 9, 2022
Teachers at Deen Dayal Upadhyay College remain at the mercy of the Delhi government
Recently, it came to light that the Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) college, run by the Delhi government, had to cut down on its operating hours to save electricity. The college is now working for 5 days a week, owing to the paucity of funds.
As per an exclusive report by The Times of India, the Delhi government did not release electrical and maintenance grants so far. Besides, the salaries of teachers have been outstanding for the past 2 months. This has prompted them to participate in protests against the Aam Aadmi Party government.
A teacher told the English daily, “It has been more than two years now that we have been facing this problem. Earlier, the government said once the governing body was constituted with its representatives, the problem of funds would be addressed, but still, the same problem is going on.”
— Rashmi ಸಾಮಂತ್ (@RashmiDVS) September 9, 2022
In a notice released on June 9 this year, the Deen Dayal Upadhaya college administration informed that it would withhold a large chunk of the teachers’ salaries and disburse them only when funds were available.
“This is for information of all permanent teaching staff that due to paucity of funds, ₹30000 has been retained from the net salary of Assistant Professors and ₹50000 from the net salary of Associate Professors/ Professors for the month of July,” it stated. The notice was signed by the officiating Principal of DDU, Hem Chand Jain.
Delay in the release of grants by the Delhi government
On July 18, 2022, BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma raised the question pertaining to the delay in the release of funds to the colleges of Delhi University.
He inquired whether the Union government had taken note of the financial crisis in Delhi government-run DU colleges and steps taken to ensure financial autonomy of Indian colleges.
“Will the Minister of Education be pleased to state whether the Government has directed to Delhi Government to ensure the release of pending funds to colleges of the University of Delhi and if so, the details thereof?” Verma further asked.
Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed [pdf] the Lok Sabha that the 53 colleges of Delhi University are directly funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC). He added that funds to the tune of ₹ 2134.54 cr, ₹ 2446.83 cr, and ₹ 590.51 cr were released during the FY 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23 (up to June 2022).
“A representation was received in the Ministry from all the twelve Principals of DU Colleges, fully funded by the Government of NCT of Delhi, regarding the hardships to the staff members and pensioners due to non-release of grants in aid,” he informed.
Dharmendra Pradhan further stated, “The University of Delhi has informed that the Government of NCT of Delhi has also been releasing grants to the 12 Colleges fully funded by them, albeit delayed.”
The issue of delayed payments has demoralised the teachers, although this hasn’t stopped Arvind Kejriwal from browbeating about his ‘Delhi model’. However, the brazen apathy of the Delhi government towards teachers is not a recent phenomenon.
When teachers and staff called for a one-day strike
In January this year, the teachers and staff of Delhi University organised a one-day strike against the non-clearance of dues to both the teaching and non-teaching staff of 12 colleges that are funded by the Delhi Government.
Reportedly, many did not receive their salaries from August 2021 and were forced to take loans to meet their daily needs. This in turn had exhausted their savings and affected their mental well-being.
While speaking about the matter, ANDC Assistant Professor Udai Veer Singh told NewsClick, “With what mood will you teach your students when you too are asking your friends and relatives for money to pay the school fee of your child? We have been executing our jobs with utmost honesty, and the salaries are our basic right.”
“Still, Delhi Government is not paying us grants to pay salaries, medical expenses, and pensions,” he added. Singh also pointed out that the erratic disbursement of funds has destroyed the infrastructure of Acharya Narendra Dev College.
Singh explained that the funds’ reduction coupled with erratic grants from Delhi Government is worsening the infrastructure in the colleges. He also informed that the teachers had to knock on the doors of the Delhi High Court when they were not paid in the concluding months of 2020. “How many times can teachers approach the courts for our salaries?” he had asked.
The 12 colleges that have borne the brunt of Kejriwal’s apathy include Acharya Narendra Dev College, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences, Bhagini Nivedita College, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, Aditi Mahavidyalaya Women’s College, Maharaja Agrasen College (DU), Maharshi Valmiki College of Education, Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women, and Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies.
Salaries remained stuck for over a year
In November 2021, India Today reported that about 1500 teachers and 2000 non-teaching staff members of 12 DU colleges, funded by the Delhi government, were left to fend for themselves for about a year.
This was because they were not paid salaries since November 2020. The struggle was intense for contract-based employees whose monthly salaries were just ₹15000. Some of them were able to get their hard-earned paycheck for a month after writing several letters to the authorities.
In a bid to make up for the failure of the Delhi government, the college administration decided to pay the salaries of teachers and non-teaching staff from the student welfare funds. This is despite the fact that such funds are to be used for the welfare of the student community.
The Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, wrote letters to the principals of the 12 colleges and accused them of provoking the teachers for demanding their salaries. Fearing intimidation, some teachers deliberately chose not to speak about their grievances.
The government had passed the buck on the institutions, blaming the latter for the non-disbursement of salaries. A professor told India Today, “We are being told to pay income tax on salaries we didn’t get. How insensitive can they get?”
The bone of contention
According to Maharaja Agrasen College teacher, Bhupinder Chaudhari, teachers are paying the price of a dispute between the Delhi government and the Delhi University.
He told NewsClick, “The crisis is rooted in Delhi Government’s proposal that the memorandum of understanding signed between these colleges and the Delhi University at the time of their formation suggested that these colleges should arrange their funds and it will only pay the deficit money to run the colleges.”
“It advised the colleges to use their student society funds to pay their salaries. The colleges are of the opinion that it can not be used for the purpose and moved to the court for resolution. Since the matter is sub-judice, the Delhi Government stopped the funding of the colleges abruptly,” Chaudhari added.
He pointed out that the court did not order stopping the release of funds but the Delhi government chose to do it anyway. “If we go by the proposal of the Delhi Government itself that it will only pay the deficit, at least it should release grants until the matter is resolved. Any deficit/surplus can be adjusted later,” he concluded.
As such, it has been regular work and delayed paychecks for the teachers and non-teaching staff of the 12 unfortunate colleges of the University of Delhi.