[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n a referendum conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) on August 7, asking the teachers to vote on the question whether the Vice Chancellor of JNU Jagadesh Kumar be relieved of his office, 279 teachers voted in favour of him being relieved, 8 voted in favour of the VC staying. In total, 300 out of 586 listed faculty turned up for the referendum. Eight votes were invalid and five voters abstained from voting. Out of the 51% of the faculty participating in the referendum, only 2.67 percent of the faculty wanted VC Jagdesh Kumar to remain in his office. While a staggering 93 percent of the faculty wanted him to vacate his office.
On another question of whether JNU should take HEFA loan, 288 faculties out of the 300 voted against it whereas four were in favour of it. Five voters were invalid and three were abstained from voting. 96 percent of the voters did not want JNU to take HEFA loan whereas only 1.33 percent voted in favour of the HEFA loan.
The intent to create Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) was made in the Budget speech of 2016-17 which stated that, “We have decided to set up a Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) with an initial capital base of Rs.1,000 crores. The HEFA will be a not-for-profit organisation that will leverage funds from the market and supplement them with donations and CSR funds. These funds will be used to finance improvement in infrastructure in our top institutions and will be serviced through internal accruals”. It is basically a modality in the name of self-reliant and ‘autonomous’ shifts the higher education paradigm from a subsidy based model to that of loan model. Canara Bank is the partner for setting up the Company.
The JNUTA press statement released on August 7 states that despite “heavy showers through the day and more so, despite the general atmosphere of fear that has been created by the current administration”, it was a “surprise turnout”. It further says that the university has been indulging in individual targeting, and issuing notices against the faculty members who dare to dissent.