The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has directed the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, to waive off dining and hostel charges for students from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes categories. The commission, which visited the Mumbai campus of TISS in June, reiterated its recommendations made in February following protests by students.
In its review report dated July 25, the NCST said: “The commission reiterates and strongly recommends that the Tata Institute of Social Sciences should come forward with a plan for arranging funds from various sources to meet the requirement of funds for dining and hostel charges of students of SC/ST category… This needs to be done urgently to protect the interests of poor students.”
After a massive protest by students in February against the institute across all campuses over improper implementation of the Government of India Post-Matric Scholarship scheme (GoI PMS), the NCST had recommended the institute to waive off the dining and hostel charges for ST students.
On June 5, a 10-member team of the NCST, including the chairperson, visited the campus to review the implementation of reservation policy and other measures for protection and social welfare of students from the ST category. The team found that its earlier recommendations had not been implemented.
The commission has now recommended that the institute also reduce its fee in the interest of students and prepare its fee structure in line with other deemed universities.
During its visit, the NCST also found that reservation rosters for various posts among employees were not filled as per central government norms. It has asked TISS to fill up all backlog ST vacancies in a special recruitment drive and submit an action plan for the same to the commission.
While acting Director Shalini Bharat was unavailable for comment, a spokesperson from the institute said the report was received last week. “We are evaluating the recommendations made by the NCST and are in the process of preparing an action plan,” said the official.
In February, students began protesting the institute’s decision to withdraw aid to GoI-PMS students and charge dining and hostel fees from eligible students. Following the protests, the institute agreed to waive off the fees for existing students until the 2017-18 batch. It, however, asked SC/ST students of the 2018-2020 batch to pay Rs 12,500. It asked OBC non-creamy layer students to pay Rs 30,700 at the time of admission. Both amounts are inclusive of hostel fee, dining hall charges and caution money, among others. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes, too, is hearing the matter.