Don’t charge undue fee from PMSSS beneficiaries of J&K, Ladakh: AICTE directs colleges
Srinagar: The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has barred the outside colleges from charging undue fees - hostel and mess charges from the PMSSS beneficiaries of J&K and Ladakh.
In an official communication addressed to the principals and directors of the colleges, the AICTE said that it received complaints from the students and parents against some institutions for charging full hostel and mess fees during Covid-19 pandemic while the facilities were not availed by the PMSSS beneficiaries.
“It has been viewed very seriously by the competent authority in AICTE and all the institutions where PMSSS beneficiaries are studying are once again advised not to charge any undue fee from them regarding hostel and mess charges,” the letter reads.
The AICTE said that due to Covid-19 and instructions given by the statutory authorities of the states and Government of India (GoI), the institutions in most parts of the country were closed and only online classes and exams were conducted during academic session 2020-21.
As per the official communication, every year the students from J&K and Ladakh are selected through an online counseling process conducted by AICTE and admitted in the selected pool of institutions all over the country.
“The AICTE pays academic fee as per the State Fee Regulatory Committee orders or lower as the case may be subject to maximum ceiling fixed by the Ministry of Education, Government of India,” the letter reads.
The students enrolled in outside colleges under PMSSS had complained that they were not provided the yearly maintenance charges of Rs 1 lakh by the AICTE.
“We were only paid Rs 20,000 for odd-semesters and nothing as of now for even-semesters. It is clearly stated in the scholarship form that the maintenance money comprises books, examination fee, travel, rent and other expenses of the students. Still they are reluctant to pay us the pending amount,” an aggrieved student said.
The students said that the colleges were closed due to pandemic and they had to attend online classes for which they paid full rent for their rented accommodations or hostel fee and paying guest facilities.
“It is our right to get the full amount as was promised to us during the time of counseling,” the students said.
Meanwhile, the AICTE in its letter acknowledged that it uniformly pays Rs 1 lakh for expenditure towards maintenance charges for hostel, mess, cost of books and other incidental charges for all streams in 10 equal monthly installments.
“The AICTE has released Rs 20,000 to all beneficiaries for the odd semester of academic session 2020-21 as per the decision of the Ministry of Education, GoI. It is decided to pay Rs 20,000 for even-semester too by the Ministry of Education on the basis of continuation in the programme,” the letter reads.
It states that currently AICTE is processing the continuation certificate to release the maintenance allowance for the even-semester of academic session 2020-21 and would be released shortly.
“Same will continue further in academic year 2021-22 till face-to-face classes start and hostels become operational,” the document reads.
The AICTE has asked the institutes not to charge any hostel-related expenses from the PMSSS students during which the student has not availed the facility.
“It may be noted that academic fees will be paid as usual subject to promotion of the student in the next academic session,” it reads.
The AICTE has said that the GoI imposed country-wide lockdown in the March 2020 which was extended till June 2020 following which the GoI and concerned state government issued advisories to students who were studying in institutions to vacate the hostels and colleges immediately and to conduct online classes instead of physical classes.
“Even semesters and annual examinations were conducted online as well,” it reads.