Mumbai: IIT-B students to go on hunger strike, flood Twitter for additional support

They made a social media handle called “IIT Bombay Students Against Fee Hike” for the same to reach out to people on social media.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Sunday, July 31, 2022, 08:21 AM IST
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IIT Bombay | File

The students of the Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay (IIT-B) who have been protesting since July 22 against the fee hike by the institute – are now taking the matter to social media to seek help.

According to the students, the fees for programs like MTech and PhD have increased by 39 percent and 45 percent respectively, for the upcoming semester. It’s estimated that the fee per semester in these courses may go up by at least Rs. 7,000. They have now taken the matter to social media platforms including Twitter, to gather support for their cause.

They made a social media handle called “IIT Bombay Students Against Fee Hike” for the same to reach out to people on social media.

It started on July 20 when around 200 students started a sit-in protest at the main building after the director of the institute refused to meet them. Following this, more students started to join them for support. Subsequently, students also demanded that if their demands are not met by August 5, they will go on an indefinite hunger strike.

Along with the demand of rolling back the fee, they have added two more which are revocation of board resolution recommending a 5% annual hike and also the inclusion of student representatives in the Standing Committee.

Reportedly, the third demand is currently being considered by the institute.

According to sources at the institute, the institute accepted the third demand and announced that at least four members of the student body will be included as ‘permanent invitees’.

As per the students, the fee hike is ‘unfair’ as they are still struggling to recover from the pandemic. “The fee hike is a big amount if you consider it for each student. We, students, are surviving with the stipend that we receive, which can barely make up for our expenses at the institute and otherwise. Not every one of us is from a rich family, so it’s unfair for the institute to make any decision regarding the fee without consulting the student body,” said one of the students.

Another student from a PhD program while echoing the conversation said, “We ate managing our families and also the course with the stipend – which has not increased in a long time – so it’s arbitrary to hike the fee.”

It is known that the said hike was approved by the institute almost three years ago but was halted due to pandemic and other technical reasons. As per the circular from the institute, it gives a clear hike in students' hostel accommodation, hostel establishment charges, students’ benevolent funds, and gymkhana.

On Saturday, they posted saying, “In spite of fundings from Ministry of Education, alumni donations, industry research, consultancy income, patents, interests on corpus funds, CSR, etc, IIT-Bombay imposed fee hike on students whose only source of income is a meagre stipend.”

Several students organizations like Progressive Students’ Forum – TISS, All India Democratic Students’ Organisation, All India Students’ Association – Bihar State Council, Students’ Federation of India – the University of Hyderabad Unit, Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle – IIT Gandhinagar, National Students’ Union of India, All India Research Scholars Association, Central Executive Committee of the Students’ Federation of India – have given support to the students of IIT Bombay.

All eyes are on the institute now whether or not, before August 5, they will listen and act on students' demands or if the students will be forced to go on a hunger strike to express their anger.

Previous fees

For Ph.D. Students

1st year – Raised to Rs. 26,450 from Rs. 16,500

2nd year – Raised to Rs. 23,950 from 16,500

MTech Students

Fee per semester – Raised from Rs. 19,000 to Rs. 26,450

Semester fees were slashed in 2020 and 2021 owing to pandemic

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