TISS relaunches scholarship withheld for past two years
The authorities said they couldn’t disperse scholarships owing to a ‘confusion’ over the eligibility of the institute.mumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2018 20:10 IST
As students at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) continue to protest the withdrawal of education aid to socially weaker students, the institute issued a circular announcing availability of Government of India - Post Matric Scholarships (GOI-PMS) for the other backward category (OBC), denotified tribe/nomadic tribe (DT/NT) and special backward category (SBC) students from Maharashtra. The scholarship was withheld for the past two academic years.
The circular was issued on Friday after the state assistant commissioner, social welfare for Mumbai suburban district, ordered the institute to submit the scholarship applications of OBC, DT/NT and SBC students for the current year. The last date to apply for the scholarship is March 23.
According to TISS authorities, they were unable to direct students from these categories towards availing these scholarships owing to a ‘confusion’ over the eligibility of the institute.
“In 2014, the state government announced it will no longer provide GOI-PMS scholarship to OBC, DT/NT and SBC students in deemed universities. In subsequent letters to the institute in 2016 and 2017, the government reiterated that the scholarship won’t be applicable to deemed universities and self-financed institutes. But this year it asked us to send scholarship applications,” said Shajahan PK, dean, students’ affairs, TISS.
While TISS is a deemed university, it’s largely funded by the Centre. While the SC and ST students from the state at TISS receive GOI-PMS, the institute refused to extend the scholarship to OBC students from the academic year 2015-16 and asked them to pay their entire tuition fee upfront.
Though GOI-PMS is funded by the union government, state governments are responsible for disbursing it. The conditions for availing these scholarships depend on a student's state of origin.
The students blame the TISS administration for its failure in bringing clarity to the issue. They also alleged that the institute intentionally 'hid' various directives from the state government. "TISS didn't inform us about the availability of scholarship, even though a 2015 letter [by the director, DT/NT, OBC and SBC welfare, Maharashtra government] noted that OBC students in TISS are eligible for the scholarships," said Yashwant Zagade, an OBC PhD scholar at the institute.
'Confusion' over GOI-PMS for OBC students
In 2014, the assistant commissioner issued a circular declaring that backward category students in deemed universities are not eligible for Government of India - Post Matric Scholarships (GOI-PMS).
However, in a 2015 letter to the principal secretary, social justice and special assistance department, the director, DT/NT, OBC and SBC welfare, Maharashtra government, noted that the DT/NT, OBC and SBC students in enrolled in 28 courses in TISS are eligible for the scholarships.
In 2017, the assistant commissioner sent a letter to the Institute, informing about the availability of GOI_PMS for these category students. Though, it said that these scholarships are not given to the students in private deemed or self-financed universities.
In 2018, the assistant commissioner directed TISS to submit scholarship applications of DT/NT, OBC and SBC students.