Former UGC member MM Ansari on Thursday hit out at HRD minister Smriti Irani accusing her ministry of interfering in the affairs of the University Grants Commission by ordering to repeal the decision taken on non-NET fellowship issue.
Ansari, who has earlier been critical over the functioning of the ministry, has once again questioned the working of the minister, saying, “The attitude and behaviour of the minister is unbecoming of an official of this stature.”
“The HRD minister has snubbed the UGC for its decision on non-NET qualified research students, which tantamount to interference in the functionality of an autonomous body.
“UGC’s decisions are taken in the presence of higher education secretary and other members who are also appointed by the MHRD. What is the fun of having an apex body like UGC if its decision are to ridiculed and discarded by the government,” he said.
His outburst against the minister and her ministry came at a time when PhD aspirants have mounted a strong protest against the UGC decision to discontinue the non-NET fellowship programme, with the agitation entering the tenth day on Thursday.
Appearing to support the non-NET candidates, Ansari also questioned the disparity in the fellowship amount given to NET and non-NET category students. “When both the category students are getting the same degree, then why there should be a disparity in the fellowship amount?” he asked.
Coming out in support of the agitating students, another former UGC member Yogendra Yadav claimed that when he was a member of the Commission, a committee was formed to “expand the scope of the NET and Non-NET fellowships” but it never happened.