Debating in Delhi University is very different from debating at the school level. The main difference stems from the existence of Parliamentary Debating.
While conventional debating (the kind you did in school) involves a team with one person for and one person against an idea, Parliamentary Debating (PD) involves different teams with one team for and one team against an idea. A team can consist of two or three people (depending on the tournament) and teams typically fight in multiple preliminary rounds during a tournament, at the end of which the top 8 teams are selected to go into the quarter-finals.
PDs are different, not only because of their tournament style or the fact the one side will “win” but also because of the values involved. Your oratory ability is considered second to your points and adjudicators (who are also students and not the teachers or IAS officers you had in school) award the debate to the team that can best prove their case rather than the team that has the most fluent speaker.
While there are many Debating Societies that take part in PDs, there are many that don’t. Indeed, there are even colleges which don’t have Debsocs. Debsocs are vital, not only because of the network that allows you to be invited for PDs, but also because they provide the training that is crucial to winning.
The money in both conventional debating and PDs is good (although one has to be very good at PDs in order to win). In conventional debating, the writer’s records put the average prize at around Rs.900. Almost every department in every college in DU has their own festival which usually includes a debate. Therefore there are plenty of debates to take part in, especially during December. Most Debsocs that participate in PDs organize one or two every year.
Debsocs vary from college to college: some are very active and drill their juniors into shape, while others do not. In the end it depends on you college and priorities. Debating teaches one not only how to speak but also how to think logically about a situation and express one’s thoughts clearly, skills that will be of great use in the real world.