Tell us how scholarship issues added to ₹20-crore deficit: Students ask TISS
TISS administration’s position is that the institute’s deficit in revenues is caused by issues associated with the Government of India - Post Matric Scholarships (GoI - PMS)mumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2018 23:44 IST
With the students’ agitation at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) completing a month, the protesting students challenged TISS administration’s position that the institute’s deficit in revenues is caused by issues associated with the Government of India - Post Matric Scholarships (GoI - PMS). They demanded to know what proportion of the institute’s estimated Rs20 crore deficit is a result of these problems.
HT had reported that TISS administration said that it decided to withdraw dining hall and hostel fee waivers to students after the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) raised a flag over the rising deficit of the institute. TISS had blamed the students’ failure to pay the scholarship amount received from the union government through direct benefit transfer (DBT) for its deficit. It had also pointed out that while the scholarship covered only 15% of tuition fees charged at TISS, it waived off the entire fees of the recipients.
Gaurav Gharade, a research scholar at TISS, said that there’s no data to support the institute’s claim of students’ defaulting on their payments. “It’s a procedural flaw if the students’ were allowed to graduate without making full payment. The institute can cancel degree of a student who fails to pay the scholarship money. Why will a graduate pursuing employment risk not paying his dues?” he said.
However, the institute insisted that many students chose to default. “We have withheld degrees of many such students,” said Shajahn PK, dean, students’ affairs, TISS.
The students questioned the claim that the institute was forced to withdraw fee waiver to students from socially weaker sections due to its recurring budget deficit. They argued that despite its deficit the institute continued to spend large sums of money under various other heads.
“The expansion of TISS in new campuses, recruiting contractual teachers and starting new courses shows that there’s no deficit. The information submitted by TISS for National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) indicates that the institute’s expenditure on seminars and workshops. Besides, many projects being run by the institute incur a deficit,” said Joy Praful Lakra, a PhD scholar at the institute. He added that the institute should continue fee waivers despite its financial woes.
While Shajahn called it a “good argument”, he said, “Expansion gives an opportunity to many students, including those from marginalised sections, to get into higher education institute. All our new programmes are unique, but sometimes one doesn’t get enough applications for them, as students usually choose well-known programmes,” he said.