MUMBAI: It's been over four days that students at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) are protesting against the administration with scholars refusing to back down. They have been protesting against the withdrawal of financial aid to the Government of India-Post Matriculation Scholarship (GOI-PMS) from SC/ST category across all the campuses of the institute.
The Students Union has been protesting since Wednesday and while the institute offered some concessions, the students have claimed that they were not enough.
The administration on Thursday gave a proposal to exempt the SC/ST students of the 2016-18 batch from paying the hostel and dining hall fees. "If they are not able to pay now, they can pay it later when they get a job or scholarship is credited to their account. They will be allowed to appear for their examinations," Professor PK Shahjahan, Dean, Office of Students' Affairs at TISS had said.
However, a Students Union rejected the offer saying the administration has not promised any relief for the OBC students and students of the 2017-2019 batch and upcoming batches. "The 2016-18 batch SC/ST students have been told that they need not pay the fees now, but after they get jobs. Payment has been postponed not waived off," a student leader said.
The TISS administration has maintained that they have not stopped any scholarships. "The scholarship is a matter between the government and the students, the institute has no role either in the sanction or disbursement of the scholarships. The GOI-PMS is paid by the Social Welfare Department/Tribal Welfare Department of the respective state directly to the student," Shahjahan said.
"As per the government rule, we are not charging any course fee from the students of reserved category. They are only required to pay dining hall charges and hostel fees," he said.
The Post Matric Scholarship scheme is a centrally sponsored Scheme implemented by the state governments, providing financial assistance to the Scheduled Caste students studying at post matriculation or post-secondary stage to enable them to complete their education.
The protest began on Wednesday when around 500 students gathered at the TISS main gate and blocked the gate. Since then, the students have been sitting at the main gate of the campus, even sleeping there at night.
TISS students at the Hyderabad, Guwahati and Tuljapur campuses also held protests. The students are getting the support of TISS SC/ST Employee's Welfare Association, TISS Teachers' Association and TISS Alumni.
(With agency inputs)