The recent decision of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to stop all non- NET fellowship that was provided to MPhil and PhD students at central universities from the next academic session has seen severe condemnation from all sectors. This decision is viewed as a massive “anti-student move”. On Wednesday, student groups accumulated in front of the UGC’s ITO office resisting its decision to stop non-NET scholarship for researchers. They have taken the decision to “occupy UGC” till the decision is withdrawn.
Students from all the major universities of Delhi have joined the protest like DU, JAMIA, AUD and JNU Students Union (JNUSU) and various other groups from JNU along with other student organizations. The gathered students all expressed a shock at the recent decision to stop the non-net fellowship to thousands of M. Phil and PhD researchers of India recommended by a committee, headed by UGC Chairman Ved Prakash, initially formed to enhance fellowship after a yearlong demand of student movement since last year.
Long discussions between both the parties availed to benefit and this has further agitated the students. Without the non- NET fellowship a very huge number of researchers would not be able to carry out their higher education. This cancellation of fellowship would inevitably result in higher education being more inaccessible in India. This decision of the government is seen consistent with decision of austerity as a part of its impending negotiation with WTO to commit Indian Higher as a tradable service in the upcoming 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi this December. At this point, students all over India can only hope for better judgment and a change of decision from the part of the government.
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