IIT-Bombay students protest, want scholarship funds to be given on time
Students at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) on Friday held protest meetings in the campus demanding timely disbursement of scholarship funds. They also demanded that the central government increase funds to account for growing expenses.
“There are instances when the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) fellows do not receive their fellowship for 6-12 months. Scholars availing the institute fellowship do not receive any House Rent Allowance (HRA), whereas the married scholars have to queue themselves in a long waiting list to avail separate hostel facilities. Mumbai being a costly city has high expenses, which adds to these problems, thereby making it difficult for scholars to make ends meet,” said one of the protesting students.
In a statement released by students, it has been highlighted how research scholars have to pay a semester fee that amounts to around Rs 17,000 along with the mess fees of Rs 27,000 which was increased by Rs 7,000 in the past one year.
“This lumpsum payment of around Rs 45,000 every semester often becomes troublesome for many students, especially when the fellowship amount is minimal and paid irregularly,” said another student and added that the fellowship funds have not proportionately increased with the growing expenses.
In February this year, a bandh was called by the TISS Students’ Union to protest the institute’s decision to withdraw fee waiver to SC, ST and OBC students eligible for the Government of India Post Matric Scholarship (GoI-PMS). Students across all campuses of the institute – Mumbai, Hyderabad, Tuljapur and Guwahati participated in the boycott, which lasted for several weeks. An inquiry committee constituted by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) had previously recommended that the institute waive off the dining and hostel charges for ST students.
“Our institute is being very supportive and in the past few months, the director of the institute has helped us by forwarding our letters to the appropriate authorities in the ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) as well as the Department of Science & Technology (DST), but we have not heard from them yet. Our only choice now is to take to the streets and raise our voices till the authorities hear us,” said a protesting student.
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