STUDENTS OF the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and those joining it in the next academic year will have to furnish their Aadhaar details mandatorily, failing which the institute will discontinue their admissions. In a circular issued to students on Thursday, registrar C P Mohan Kumar said that those joining the institute for the third semester will have to register their biometric and Aadhaar card details with the institute before June 8.
“Biometric attendance is an institutional norm and all students are required to follow it. Students who are unable to provide their fingerprint and submit their Aadhar card will be deemed to have discontinued from the programme of study at TISS,” read the circular. For students taking admissions to the first semester, the “administrative formalities” are to be completed at the time of verification of certificates.
TISS director S Parasuraman said the decision to make Aadhaar compulsory was taken to keep tabs on scholarships received by students directly from the government. “Sometimes the government transfers scholarship funds directly to the accounts of the students, who do not inform us of the same. The students continue to get funds from the institute,” said Parasuraman, adding that he was yet to receive a copy of the circular. The Aadhaar details will help TISS keep track of the fund transfers, he said.
The circular has listed several steps that students need to follow, failing which they will not be allowed to continue in the programme of study. “We are introducing several measures to streamline the academic administration,” read the circular.
The decision to make biometric attendance compulsory had been introduced by the administration last year but it had to be withdrawn following protests by the student union.
However, this time the institute has made it clear that the manual attendance system will cease to exist from the academic year 2017-18. “All students who have completed the procedures and joined the third semester are required to complete their biometric registration and fingerprint recording within 48 hours of returning to the campus,” stated the circular.
The circular has come at a time the student union stands dissolved. With previous year’s representatives graduating, students are yet to elect a new set of representatives. Since the decision has come during vacation and in the absence of a student union, students are now finding it difficult to mobilise protests.
“There are few students on campus. Discussions are on about further course of action. A statement will be issued soon,” said a second-year student on condition of anonymity.
SC, ST and OBC student aid to be scrapped
In the circular issued on Thursday, the institute has also said that it will discontinue financial aid to SC, ST and OBC students with family income below the Union government norms that mark out the “creamy layer”. It means students eligible for scholarships under Government of India schemes and special scholarships by the institute will now have to pay full fee from the next semester.
“The institute requests the concerned students to mobilise resources for tuition fee, hostel and dining hall charges. Arrangements have been made with nationalised banks to facilitate educational loans. Securing scholarship/ loan will be the sole responsibility of the student and the institute will not be responsible for ensuring the grant or release of loans by the bank,” read the circular.
TISS has cited a deficit of Rs 20 crore as the reason behind the decision. “Under the GoI scholarship scheme, the government only pays the tuition fee and the rest is borne by the institute. But the institute is in no position to bear the costs,” said Parasuraman. He said it was because the ministries of social justice and empowerment and tribal affairs and state have not reimbursed for scholarship costs borne by it.