The Jawaharlal Nehru University Faculty Association has alleged that the university has been involved in financial irregularities for the past four years – during the tenure of the current vice-chancellor, Dr Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar. In a recent statement, teachers said that income or money from tuition fees and various other sources has doubled in the past two years, but spending on academic activities has fallen by 30%.
Citing the annual accounts submitted by the JNU administration, JNUTA said there had been a substantial drop from Rs 17 crores – from Rs 137 crores (2012-13 to 2015-16) to Rs 120 crores (2016-17 to 2019-20) – when it comes to academic expenses. “JNU has introduced new courses in management and engineering where they charge an unsubsidized fee. This has increased academic revenue in recent years. Between 2018-19 and 2019-20, academic revenue more than doubled, with academic expenses disappeared between 2018-19 and 2019-2020, while academic income increased by 3 crore (more than double), academic expenses decreased by 8 crore ”, said Dr. Moushumi Basu, secretary of JNUTA .
JNUTA said the drop in university spending is substantial. Almost all of the heads under academic spending, except three, recorded a decline. “While the reduction in expenditure on field and aid to education can probably be explained by the pandemic situation and online education in 2020-2021, a decrease of 72% and 45% respectively under these headings a year before the pandemic requires explanation “, underlined the press release of the JNUTA. The document also points out that there was an 84% (Rs 2.37 crore) reduction in laboratory running expenses, a 13.7% (Rs 2.02 crore) decrease in the Student Protection Fund, a 6.8% drop in student grants and allowances – as of 2017 -18 it saw a six-fold drop from Rs 18.2 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 2.3 crore in 2019- 20. JNUTA added that there had also been a substantial drop in the newspaper and publications – 58 percent (from Rs. 1.6 crore). In 2020, when online education was activated, these were the only resources that students and teachers depended on without any other online infrastructural support for either group at the university, have they added.
Another issue that JNUTA highlighted was the expense related to JNU entrance exams since the National Testing Agency (NTA) took over. “There has been no accounting for expenses incurred for JNU entrance exams conducted with the assistance of the National Testing Agency over the past two years. This has been acknowledged by both the JNU and NTA administration in responses filed on RTI requests by JNUTA, ”Dr Basu said.
In addition to this, the teachers also said that there were regular incidents of workers, including sanitation staff, gardeners, IT operators employed on a contract basis, not receiving their salaries for months. “There are also complaints of financial irregularities which have been brought to the attention of the education ministry concerning senior members of the administration,” they said.
The JNU administration did not respond to questions about the issue. This copy will be updated as they are answered.