MUMBAI: On Thursday, to show solidarity, students from well-known
institutes around the city will be beginning their own campaign for the "occupy
UGC" movement which is taking place across the country. Students from various
institutions such as Mumbai University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
(TISS), IIT-Bombay and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) plan on
sending a rupee coin each sealed in an envelope as a mark
of their protest to the University Grants Commission (UGC)/ ministry of human
resources and development (MHRD).
Ajmal Khan, a PH.D student from TISS says, "We extend our
support to the national movement. We expect almost around 250 students from all
over the city to participate in the protest on Thursday." As part of the
Thursday protest, students have created songs, slogans plays at the
university's campus. The movement started in the country after the UGC decided to
remove the non-NET fellowship grants which were given to M.Phil and Ph.D
students across the country. Furthermore, following the protest the ministry
decided to roll back the circular, announcing the discontinuation of the fellowship.
One of the many protesting students said, "Nonetheless, it then chose to
constitute a review committee for investigating the fellowship with the
condition that merit and economic criteria' will be utilized to benefit it.
This is against the rule of a fellowship being given to every enrolled student
in central, state and deemed colleges."
It is said, that under the fellowship, an award of Rs.5,
000 every month for year and a half is given to M Phil students and Rs.8, 000
every month for four years to PhD students, who don't get other UGC grants.The
protesting students are requesting that the fellowship ought to be restored,
expanded and stretched out to all students in higher education enrolled in central,
state and deemed colleges without the state of merit, increase in the quantity
of fellowship for existing plans, including higher education as a fundamental
right, and broadened the action policies paying little heed to the
administration of the colleges. Students from individual institutes like
IIT-Bombay, TISS and Mumbai University also have their own set of demands.