THE UNIVERSITY Grants Commission (UGC) has released arrears worth Rs11crore to Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, after the ongoing student protest gained national attention. A sum of around Rs 4.7crore was released last week and the UGC approved to release another Rs 6 crore on Friday towards the arrears. The decision was taken during a meeting held Friday between officials from the UGC, TISS students’ union, student council as well as the institute’s administration. The meeting was aimed at holding a dialogue with students on campus who have been protesting for 24 days over the institute’s earlier decision to withdraw financial aid to students eligible for the Government of India Post-Matric Scholarship (GoI-PMS).
The institute has been claiming a deficit worth Rs 20 crore owing to the central and state governments not releasing funds under the scholarship scheme. However, the UGC has now come to the institute’s rescue by releasing Rs11 crore as maintenance grants. “The meeting with UGC officials was fruitful. The central body has decided to release the arrears. Although this has nothing to do with the GoI-PMS scheme, the grants will lift the pressure off the institute,” said P K Shajahan, dean, student affairs. He said the remaining part of the deficit will have to be mobilised from other sources such as CSR funds. Meanwhile, the protesting students said the issue of reduction in non-plan grants for the institute by the UGC was put forward in the meeting. They also demanded that TISS receive grants at par with central universities, owing to its status in NAAC.
“It was a fruitful meeting and we will now submit a report with our demands. We look forward to UGC to come up with a solution to our problems. In the meantime, the protest with continue,” said Fahad Ahmad, general secretary, students’ union. Shajahan said the UGC has agreed to liaison with state and central government departments for a solution to the scholarship issue and facilitate dialogue between the governments, students and administration.