Indian universities are charging students from some South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries higher fees than Indian counterparts despite an assurance that they would be treated on a par, their embassies have complained to the government.
Thousands of students from SAARC countries every year seek admission to higher educational educations across India, and senior government officials conceded to HT that their concerns needed to be addressed expeditiously to avoid a diplomatic fallout.
The external affairs ministry has asked the human resource development ministry to look into the complaints. It has also sent complaints received from the Royal Bhutanese Embassy to the HRD ministry, sources said.
SAARC consists of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the Maldives.
In February 2010, then University Grants Commission secretary R.K. Chauhan had announced at a public meeting that the UGC had decided that students from SAARC countries would no longer be charged the higher fees that foreigners have to pay at higher educational institutions. Instead, they would be charged fees on a par with Indian students, Chauhan had said.
But the MEA has received complaints that despite the UGC's assurance, several institutions continue to charge students from SAARC countries higher fees than their Indian counterparts, sources said.
"These complaints are a major cause for concern. Since we have announced that they will be treated on a par with Indian students, there is no reason why institutions should charge SAARC students extra," a government source said.