The association has claimed that students studying at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) under scholarship are exempted from paying such fees.


Tata Institute of Social Sciences students are protesting addition of extra fees by the administration

NEW DELHI:  The TISS Students’ Union has announced a strike across all campuses of the institute from today against the administration demanding tuition, dining hall and hostel fees from scholarship students.

The association has claimed that students studying at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) under scholarship are exempted from paying such fees.

TISS has campuses in Mumbai, Tuljapur, Hyderabad and Guwahati.

“All talks and mediation with the administration over past many months have failed. The students union of TISS calls for a University Strike across TISS campuses on February 21. We call for boycotting all classes, field work and submissions,” TISS Students’ Union President Archana Soreng said.

The Centre’s Post Matric Scholarship (GOI-PMS) issue stands unresolved since the institute has notified its withdrawal from all forms of financial aid to students, she claimed.

“Now students, both current and newcomers, will have to pay their full fees even as they wait for their state scholarship amounts to come,” Ms Soreng said.

The association has also demanded a notification from the institute about ways in which financial assistance for the PMS students of the upcoming batch of 2018-2020 will be provided.

Explaining the issue, she said that the institute, without mentioning anything in the prospectus, was now demanding tuition, dining hall (DH) and hostel fee from scholarship students of the 2016-18 batch.

“The administration has also said that the 2017-2019 batch will have to pay the full fee for DH and hostel as the notification was out in May 2017 before they took admission and they were very well aware about the notification. But the argument cannot be bought as the notification was released in May 2017 in between the admission process, not before the admission process was initiated,” she said.

Strike supports rights of SC/ST students

Over 200 students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Govandi on Wednesday protested against the withdrawal of financial aid given to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) students.

The strike began at 7 a.m. and students boycotted lectures and field trips. They gathered outside the dining hall of the old campus and later outside the director’s office. The strike was observed by all departments across all four campuses — Mumbai, Tuljapur, Guwahati and Hyderabad. In May last year, a circular issued by the TISS administration said that the Government of India-Post Matriculation Scholarship (GOI-PMS) would be withdrawn from SC/ST students from the 2017-19 batch. Students said they decided to strike on February 17 after months of failed negotiations

“We used to get a waiver on hostel and dining hall fees, which has now been cancelled. We want the implementation of the scholarships. We are asking for our rights, and not begging for money,” Archana Soreng, president of the TISS Students’ Union, said.

The bandh planned on Thursday comes after dialogue between the students’ union and the administration failed, according to a statement issued by the union. “After many consultations and meetings with the administration over the past many months, we have come to the conclusion that the administration is determined to go ahead with its plans. All talks and mediation have failed, and the administration has yielded to none of our demands,” reads the statement. Ahmad said students would sit on a dharna until their demands were met. “We will go on a hunger strike and block the highway if necessary,” he said. The TISS management was unavailable to comment on the call for a bandh.

t the Mumbai campus on Wednesday, more than 60 students blocked the main gates while others boycotted classes. Students formed a chain at the gate from Wednesday afternoon after negotiations with the administration did not yield results. They demanded a written assurance from the management on concrete steps to restore the financial aid.

“In 2015, TISS cancelled aid for OBC students and asked them to pay fees. Last year, students conducted a survey which found the quota for OBC students was 27% but the actual percentage of students was 18%. This policy will see a drop in SC/ST and OBC students. This measure will block the entry of student in high education spaces. Only the elite will be able to pursue higher education. Not a single class was allowed to be held,” Yashwant Zagade, a PhD student, said.

The TISS issued a statement clarifying its stand. The statement said, “The Government of India’s post-matric scholarship is paid by the social welfare department/tribal welfare department of the respective state government on receipt of the application submitted by the student. The institute has no role in the scholarship disbursement except certifying the bona fide of students. These scholarships are paid directly through direct benefit transfer scheme to the bank account of the student.”

The statement further said the institute hadn’t stopped any facility to the eligible SC/ST students. “Course fees for these students are still exempt and they are required to pay only dining hall and hostel fees. In addition, over Rs 1 crore has been allocated/partially disbursed by the institute as scholarship/students’ aid on need basis to eligible students from general category and SC/ST/OBC during the current academic year,” the statement said.

Fahad Ahmed, general secretary of the union, said: “None of the social sciences institutes have fees as high as TISS, which charges the highest fees. The 2016-’18 batch was promised waivers, but in the middle of the year, they were told to pay fees. After negotiations, their hostel fees were waived but they have to pay dining hall fees, failing which they will not get their degrees in the convocation scheduled in a month. If we do not protest, things will worsen.”

IE, Hindu,Mumbaimirror