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TISS Students Protest as College Withdraws Fee Waiver for Reserved Category Students

The students have not attended classes since Thursday and are demanding that the institute restore the full fee waiver under the Government of India – Post Matric Scholarship (GOI-PMS) scheme.

Rounak Kumar Gunjan | News18.com@Rounak_T

Updated:January 18, 2019, 8:36 PM IST
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TISS Students Protest as College Withdraws Fee Waiver for Reserved Category Students
Students protest at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Guwahati over withdrawal of a fee waiver.

Reserved category students at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Guwahati have gone on a protest against the college over withdrawal of a fee waiver.

The students have not attended classes since Thursday and are demanding that the institute restore the full fee waiver under the Government of India – Post Matric Scholarship (GOI-PMS) scheme.

They also got support from students of the Mumbai campus of TISS as they wore badges with 'injustice' written on them to classes on Friday.

According to official figures, 62 students belonging to the reserved category had taken admission for the academic year 2018-19 after the administration assured them that the waiver will be considered.

Students Protest at Guwahati TISS

News18 accessed the communication made by the college in March to the students, which said, “The current fee structure is under review… a committee has been formed to look into the financial viability.”

The committee was formed after a ruling by the Mumbai High Court in March last year. News18 also reviewed the committee report, which recommended that the college must continue with the fee waiver.

Students also informed that there was verbal assurance by the college administration because of which many students took admission.

“Most of the students who come here from the reserved category are not financially well-off. The college cannot suddenly after admission ask for the entire fee,” said Tikendra Rai Chelak, president of GoI-PMS Student's Association at TISS Guwahati.

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General category students pay a tuition fee of nearly Rs 60,000 per semester. This includes Rs 30,000 every six months for hostel accommodation and dining.

Before the college authorities withdrew the waiver, reserved category students had to pay Rs 4,500 as upfront fee, but now they will have to pay 12,500 as upfront fee, which includes instalment fees for the whole semester.

The association is also demanding implementation of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribe recommendations, released in July last year, besides a mechanism for affordable education for marginalized sections.

Chelak said many students considering quitting after the college’s notification. “The college met a few student leaders from the association asking us to apply for student aide but that is not something we want,” he said.

He explained that under student aide, an interviewer/organisation decides how much aid a student gets, but said that this amount is insufficient and unsustainable as seen from aide received by students of TISS Mumbai.

“The enrolment of GoI-PMS students has also come down after the discontinuation of the fee waiver,” said Chelak.

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The institute administration, however, said that steps have been initiated to enhance the student aid fellowship for the reserved category.

“We are committed to our core value of honouring rights of these students. Even as the government has rolled back its scheme meant for GoI-PMS students a couple of years back, TISS has taken an initiative for substantial enhancement of fund allotment under the student aid fellowship,” Kalpana Sarathy, deputy director (acting) told The Shillong Times on Thursday.

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