From the past nine days, students from all the four TISS campuses in India — Mumbai, Hyderabad, Guwahati and Tuljapur — have been protesting against the administration since February 21. The students’ union called for a “bandh” across TISS campuses on February 21 to protest against the administration’s decision to withdraw the financial aid given to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBC scholars eligible for the Government of India Post-Matric Scholarship (GoI-PMS).
Now, eligible students will have to pay hostel and dining hall charges and will have to apply to the Centre and get the scholarship amount credited to their bank accounts.
“We only want to ask one question to govt why they took this decision? We are protesting on road means we have some serious issue which needs immediate attention. Though, we are protesting against govt, but yet, we have written to Centre to intervene in this matter. After all, it’s our govt and in democracy we have right to ask question to them,” said Fahad, general secretary of students’ union TISS, Mumbai. He further added that “If govt doesn’t listen to our demands, we will continue this strike and take it to Delhi.”
Aarti Khade, who belongs to Schedule Tribe, is doing her M.Phil from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She had come from Wardha — a small town in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. She is tense as the scholarship and aid given to Schedule Tribe and Schedule Caste students have been cut by govt.
“I am very much in stress after govt decided to cut the aid and scholarship. This is the first time my parents have asked me to take a drop and come back home. They also feel bad as they have no more money to help me. I and many like me are here whose financial condition is not that strong but scholarships and financial aid of govt are the support for us. With this support only students from rural part of country can come and learn here,” said Aarti.
It is not just Aarti who is stressed. Kennedy, who has come to do PhD from Manipur, and his parents too are worried after hearing news of protests at TISS campus. “They don’t work anymore thus they are tensed as they can’t help me with fees. But, this is the question of our right. I all the way had come from Manipur hoping to get quality education here. If I was aware of such decision, I would have not taken admission here. I request govt to rollback their decision.”
Meanwhile, a statement issued by TISS director said, “TISS understands that students can pay the requisite fees when they receive the scholarships amounts from the respective governments. Therefore, for the 2016-18 batch, all the SC/ST GoI-PMS scholarship holders registered for the Masters’ programme in 2016-18 will be permitted to continue with their studies and appear for examinations in March-April, 2018. In consideration of the difficulties faced by students, the hostel charges for the 2016-18 batch have been waived off. The payment of dining hall charges is being deferred until the time that the students have the means to pay so (i.e. as and when they receive the scholarship amount from the government in their accounts or when they get employed).”