IIT Bombay students have been protesting with a hunger strike against the institution for almost three days now. Using a relay system, the students of bachelor, post-graduate and Phd programmes have been involved in the protests and the reason for this is the recent fee hike introduced by the college.
What Is The Protest About?
On 26th July 2022, an open house was conducted for the students of IIT Bombay and among it one of the things informed to the students was a coming fee hike for some MTech, Ph.D. other programs by up to 45%. There was also mention of an increase in the hostel fees and some other charges added.
Apparently, the hike had been approved in 2020, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was put off until the situation stabilised.
The hike is apparently going to be activated during the autumn semester. As per an India Today report a student said “Except for the tuition fees at IIT Bombay, all other fee components have undergone a hike taking the fees from Rs 16500 to Rs 23950.”
They also reported that “New admissions are seeing a hike in tuition fees as well. For PhD students, the tuition fees increased from Rs 2500 to Rs 5000, while for Master’s degree students, it increased from Rs 2500 to Rs 25000”.
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What Is IIT Bombay Saying In This?
IIT Bombay on the other hand is defending the fee hike and calling it necessary. In a statement the institute said “Given the sharp increase in students, we need to build more hostels and academic buildings. The hostel fee increase is essential to cover actual expenses, allowing our other sources of income to be used to provide better academic facilities.”
The institute is arguing that
Arguing that it needed to “adjust its charges to stay alive and grow”, IIT Bombay added that only eight percent of its funding comes from student fees. The institute also added that the operational expenses will continue to be more than the fees collected despite the hike.
It further also stated that “The majority of our students realise that the government cannot keep subsidising them beyond a point. IIT Bombay is trying to convince the remaining few students to stop the stir by talking with them.”
Regarding the revised fee structure IIT Bombay said “It may be noted that the total amount that students pay for hostel stay was around Rs 2000 per month earlier, which is increased now to around Rs 2700 per month. This includes not only room rent, electricity and water charges but also medical fees. It may also be compared with the PhD stipend of between Rs 31,000 to 34,000 per month, and the MTech stipend of Rs 12,400 per month.”
As of now, according to reports, IIT Bombay is calling for four members from the elected student body of the institute to join the fee committee as permanent delegates in order to resolve the protests. It is also being said that the institute would have fee waivers for students with financial difficulties, those with delayed stipends and more.
But students are not assuaged by these terms as per TOI a student was quoted to be saying “IIT-B students Against Fee Hike spoke to some students today (Sunday) who conveyed that they were given only two days to pay the fees of around Rs 97,000 to confirm their M-Tech offer. The administration has compared the stipend of the M-Tech students with the fees they have to pay. In fact, the stipend is not enough even to pay the fees as per the new fee structure.”
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