National Students' Union of India (NSUI), a student wing associated with the congress party, criticized the fee hike policy of the IGNOU and described it as a "grant-cut policy of the BJP government".
According to the statement released by the student body, the raised fees will make the higher education less assessable to the students from the weaker section of the society. Recently, IGNOU released a notification for various undergraduate and post-graduate courses in which there was a rise of 10-20 percent in fee of 163 different courses.
"A total of 163 courses will see a raise of 10-20 per cent in fees once the decision is implemented in January 2018," an IGNOU official told IANS.
NSUI in its statement said "higher education is a means to bring social change in the direction of social justice. But, the organization said this change cannot be achieved with such increase in students' fees, resulting from the grant-cut policy of the BJP government."
"The program of IGNOU largely caters to the students in remote and rural areas. This university with courses in distance education mode caters mainly to SC, ST, OBC, women and economically backward students. This is going to make accessibility of these weaker sections' students to the higher education difficult. In India, higher education is a means to bring social change in the direction of social justice. But this cannot be achieved with such increase in students' fees resulting from the grant - the cut policy of the BJP government," said the statement.
The organization said that the move is forced by the Finance Ministry's office memorandum, according to which there will be a cut of 30 percent in grants for the central universities.
"It has been reported that Office Memorandum (OM) of the Department of Expenditure Ministry of Finance dated 13, Jan 2017 inflicting 30% grant cut for central universities has triggered this fee hike. Even the state universities are going to face severe fund crunch with the central assistance being reduced to 50% under 7111 Pay Commission from 80% under 6' Pay Commission of UPA regime," the statement added.
NSUI is demanding an immediate withdrawal of the fee hike.