Newsletter, August 2008

Kathpalia Committee Report

The Kathpalia Committee Report poses a major threat to the long-standing demand for parity of librarians with teachers. The committee was set up to “review the existing policy of promotion in Library System up to the level of Professional Assistants in Delhi University Library System and to formulate a comprehensive promotion policy”. However the committee violated its own terms of reference and tampered with the promotional/recruitment rules of Librarians. What is particularly disturbing is the recommendation that the post of librarian in the colleges can be filled through promotion from non-teaching categories.The posts of university assistant librarian or college librarian ought to be filled by direct recruitment throughout the country as per UGC norms. The Executive Council of the University of Delhi cannot change the rules of recruitment unilaterally.

It is incredible that the University authorities, led by the Vice-Chancellor, first sat on the report for almost a year and then implemented it in a tearing hurry. This is yet another example of the series of violation of university ordinances committed by the VC during his tenure. The report is being hastily implemented in some colleges where non-teaching members are being promoted as librarians by screening committees. The most glaring example is the case in Satyawati College (M) where a non-teaching member has become the librarian in this dubious manner. It is no mere coincidence that the concerned person is a near relation of Dr S. S. Rathi, Chairman of the AAD group leading the present DUTA. This also explains the strategic silence of the present DUTA leadership on an issue which can have serious consequences for librarians especially in the forthcoming pay revision. In fact, in the meeting of the DUTA Executive held on 25 July, the DUTA President Aditya Narayan Misra refused to take up this matter for discussion and when members insisted on the same, he arbitrarily closed the meeting and ran away from the place.

The DTF strongly condemns the irresponsible actions of the DUTA leadership and of the university administration on the contentious report of the Kathpalia Committee. It urges the DUTA leadership to stop using DUTA for private benefit body and to stop compromising the demand for parity of librarians with teachers.

Professional Colleges

The DTF demands the following for the professional colleges under the University of Delhi:

  • Extension of age of retirement from 62 to 65 years;
  • Strict implementation of the AICTE career promotion scheme;
  • Expeditious recognition of teachers;
  • The status of individual colleges must not be changed against the wishes of the teachers.

Shri Aurobindo College (Evening)

It is shocking that the DUTA President refuses to pursue the DUTA demand for suspension of the Principal of Shri Aurobindo College (Evening). Serious charges of maladministration and financial irregularities were raised against her when Amar Deo Sharma of the DTF was the DUTA President. The DUTA along with the teachers and non-teaching staff of the college argued for action against her. The Governing Body of the College set up a fact-finding committee which found substance in these arguments. It sought the approval of the VC for her suspension so that an impartial and full-fledged inquiry can take place. For a whole year, the VC has not found time to apply his mind. And the DUTA President repeatedly avoids action programmes needed to stop the VC from defeating the process of enquiry.

It is unfortunate that teachers’ demands are traded by the DUTA leadership to strike deals with the authorities. It is not surprising then that the DUTA leadership has been reduced to a silent bystander while the authorities amended rules regarding ad hoc appointments in contravention of the Agnihotri Committee Report, downgraded librarians to the status of non-academic staff, and are making a mockery of examination reforms, denying the AC an opportunity to deliberate on the Report of the Examination Reforms Committee.

St. Stephen’s College

AAD’s attack on the role played by DTF member Nandita Narain in various issues concerning St. Stephen’s College is a pathetic distortion of facts. For the last twenty-five years, Nandita Narain has consistently taken a principled position on the excesses committed by various authorities in the College, often under the cover of minority rights. In particular, her fifteen-year-long struggle against the misrule of Anil Wilson (who violated University Ordinances, promoted commercialization of the College, and victimised dissenting teachers, students and karamcharis with impunity) is well-known.

While Nandita supported specific measures taken by OSD Valson Thampu such as reservation for SC/ST in admissions, implementation of Ordinance XV(D), democratization and decommercial-isation, it is completely false to say that she supported the show-cause notice issued to two teachers. The AAD is hiding something more fundamental behind such false accusations: its stand on the historic decision to reserve some seats for Christian dalits when Hindu fundamentalists would not recognise them as dalits and Christian fundamentalists would not recognise the existence of dalits in their fold. In fact, so disturbed was the Hindutva brigade that it organised meetings of some SC/ST leaders to incite them that reservation of dalit Christians would eat into their share.

It is also well-known through media reports that Nandita, along with the other heads of department, strongly opposed the authorities’ stand on appointment of ad-hoc teachers, because of which they were forced to backtrack.

The DTF has been consistent in defending minority institutions from assault by fundamentalists of various hues.It has also opposed the powerful elite that sees nothing wrong in securing seats through the backdoor as well as the College administration’s abuse of the minority character to secure such backdoor entry while denying democratic participation and decision making. In fact the AAD’s attack on minority rights, guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and by various judgments of the Supreme Court, brings out, once again, its ideological affinity with communal forces.

Prohibitive Fee-Hikes

For the past two decades, most colleges have gone on raising fees under various heads ranging from regular maintenance, setting up of networking and websites to air-conditioning class rooms. Sometimes the principle of equity has been completely overturned as in the case of Shri Ram College of Commerce charging car parking fees from all students. Development fee is charged so that it is accumulated and the accrued interest is appropriated to count as the Trust’s 5% contribution. Hostel fees in particular have seen huge increases that go far beyond the actual facilities provided and what most students can afford. It is also an unfortunate fact that in many colleges the Staff Councils are made to accept the raising of fees to provide what appear to be reasonable facilities.

What has been overlooked is that for many students such increases impose severe financial burdens. In public funded institutions, where the public exchequer provides subsidy for education, the college managements ensure that those who cannot pay for the extra amenities provided are deprived of the subsidy. Cross subsidy for the rich from the poor as is the case with parking fee may happen only in a few colleges, but the insistence on the ability to pay as a precondition for availing public subsidy is more general. That most colleges include under “freeship” only waiver of “tuition fee” which is an insignificant portion of the total is a cause of serious concern.

The DTF demands that freeships should include all fees including hostel fees and that students below a certain level of income and whose parents are engaged in certain identifiable low income professions be given such freeships. It has been brought to the notice of various managements that during admission, economically poor students often do not take admission in specific colleges only on account of the high fees. Sometimes teachers volunteer to help with their own money but the authorities remain insensitive.

चिकित्सा सुविधा

विश्वविद्यालय के चिकित्सा संबंधी मामलों में एक बड़ा कदम अमरदेव शर्मा के नेतृत्व वाली डूटा के कार्यकाल में विभिन्न अस्पतालों के साथ विश्वविद्यालय के तथा कॉलेजों के शिक्षक-कर्मचारियों के मेडिकल बिल भुगतान की कैशलेस व्यवस्था के रूप में लिया गया था, जिसके अंतर्गत कई अस्पतालों से समझौता किया गया था। इस संख्या को और बढ़ाए जाने की जरूरत थी, परन्तु खेद का विषय है कि इस संख्या में कमी ही आई है। कुछ अस्पताल इस समझौते से बाहर हो गए हैं बल्कि कुछ अस्पतालों ने विश्वविद्यालय के पैनल से अपना नाता तोड़ लिया है। यही नहीं कुछ ऐसे मामले भी आए हैं जहां अस्पतालों ने समझौते के बावजूद सी.जी.एच.एस. की जारी दर पर मेडिकल बिल भुगतान से मना किया है। यह एक ऐसा मुद्दा है जिसपर विश्वविद्यालय प्रशासन को भुगतान की व्यवस्था को दुरुस्त करने की जरूरत है, तभी यह व्यवस्था चल सकती है। दिल्ली शहर के बढ़ते आकार को देखते हुए पैनल में तथा कैशलेस व्यवस्था के अंतर्गत अस्पतालों, डॉक्टरों, नर्सिंग हॉम, आदि की संख्या को बढ़ाने की जरूरत है। सन्‌ 95 से मेडिकल बिलों में सी.जी.एच.एस. के दर से भुगतान का फैसला कार्यकारिणी परिषद में लिया गया। जबकि पहले सेंट स्टीफेंस अस्पताल के दर लागू थे। विश्वविद्यालय को यदि अच्छे अस्पतालों को अपने पैनल में रखना है तो इस दर में सुधार करना होगा। कुल मिलाकर इस पूरी व्यवस्था को दुरूस्त करना आवश्यक हो गया है।

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