In fell clutch of circumstances, where students were grappling over the question of increasing monetary grants in accord to better quality of education, did they receive a blow from the right wing politics in the face of it. It has been reported that NSUI (National Student’s Union of India) protested against HRD minister, Smriti Irani after the last meeting of the commission was ceased, with the decision which spread like wild-fire: the non- National Eligibility Test has been scrapped.
The scheme in prior execution was meant to provide financial assistance to students undertaking M.Phil or PhD with an amount of 5000 and 8000 respectively, per month. The prospect was meant to provide financial assistance for 4 years to PhD and 18 months to M.Phil students at large along with the contingency amount to carry on their research.
As per the officials, the UGC chairman- Ved Prakash, fell of guard and reported an affirmation by saying that “We were getting a lot of complaints about the fellowship, so we have decided to do away with it. However, NET fellowship would be in place, so anyone who clears it will get financial assistance”. Shameless as it happens to be, the lower sections of the society have been trampled over to economize various sectors, leaving education behind.
As reported- “the decision was made in the last meeting of the commission”, yet, who would anyway take the UGC chairman to be naïve about the whole situation? Even if it were the last minutes that the decision was made in, the right wing politics took a heavy toll on the “nation building” scheme that education offers. Scrapping of the scheme would unfortunately push the students of the deprived sections out of higher education. UGC literally made a laughing stock out of itself and the education at large since the discussion initiated with motive “to consider enhancement of non- NET fellowship”.
Demonstrations have been held, both- in campuses and outside the UGC office, where NSUI made the first appearance followed by AISA. DSF on the other hand, burnt an effigy of the UGC chairman on Tuesday in the JNU campus portraying the mass agitation of the student’s forum. JNUSU president- Kanhaiya, also condemned the decision in strong words.
AISA (All India Students Association) called for a protest demonstration at the UGC office followed by students of Delhi University, JAMIA, AUD and JNU who took part in the protest. The protest was also affiliated by JNUSU and other student groups of JNU. The delegation of students met the UGC officials demanding to revoke its decision to call a halt to the non-NET fellowship, in a response to which they were disappointed. The students have now decided to go on a strike within the UGC premises until their demands are met. Standing firm to their agitated disappointments, the students would make the change happen and are determined to create their own plea of the so-called “acche din” which were once promised. As said by a student from Delhi University,” This is not the “acche din” we expected. For the last few years we are demanding to increase the non-Net fellowship and now they have decided to stop it. We will not allow the politics of Budget Cut and we won’t leave the UGC premises unless they agree to our demands”.
Imran Khan, convener, NSUI-Jamia Millia Islamia stated – “Government is cutting the education budget and ruining the education system of India which is not a good sign for the country and students”. In accord to this, Hasiba Amnin, national secretary and national social media in charge of NSUI stated- “The scheme was initiated by the UPA government so that the unprivileged students could procure financial support but the BJP government has fiddled around with the merit of the nation at large”