The HRD Ministry stated here on Friday that the Centre had
directed the UGC to continue the Non-NET fellowship,and constituted a committee
under the leadership of Gautam Barua, ex-director of IIT Guwahati. The
committee reached a common mandate to extend the benefits and opportunities of
the Non-NET fellowships to a larger number of universities.
Students marched in protest from UGC to HRD Ministry,
alleging non-serious attitude of the government towards restoring Non-NET
fellowships. They alleged that these are merely misleading statements by the
government, and the fellowship money is being siphoned off to corporates.
On the other hand, the Ministry reiterated that they shall
not reduce the fellowship awards, rather they shall be increased. Also, the
guidelines for coverage, award and administration of Non-NET fellowships shall
be improved to enable enhancement in these fellowships.
The All India Students' Association (AISA) said that the
MHRD in its brief mentioned that the students met the ministers regarding
discontinuation of the National Eligibility Test (NET). Rather, the students
have no concerns with the suspension of the NET examination. The fact that the
government is completely oblivious of the students' agenda for discussion
showcases its insensitive and careless attitude towards their demands. This
attitude was highly condemned and hence the students came out in protests.
The mention of "improving the guidelines for coverage, award
and administration of Non-NET fellowships" in MHRD's brief was also highly
criticized by the Students' Association. The Association specified that they
had categorically demanded the criterion of selection to be solely based on
being research scholar in any Indian university. For the purpose of selecting
research scholars, every university has its own set of criteria. This should be
the only basis of selection. Any other procedure to awarding fellowships is an
attempt to income exclusionary criterion such as economic and other criterion
as mentioned earlier by MHRD.
The All India Students' Association also pointed out that
the Ministry is completely mute on whether the Non-NET scholarships shall be
awarded to all students and researchers taking admission in 2016, without any
condition. The silence only points to the fact that not all researchers shall
be provided with the scholarships. This hence shall create a rift between the
existing students (who are currently getting scholarships) and the future
students (who may/ may not get scholarships).