Students from different universities carrying ‘Occupy UGC’ movement have now decided to call upon ‘all-universities strike’ on 18th February in order to protest against UGC’s decision to discontinue non-NET fellowship programme. Prior to that, they have decided to hold a signature campaign which marked its beginning on January 18.
Occupy UGC movement was started in October last year when UGC resolved to discontinue the scheme of non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship. Students from all universities across the countries protested for 45 days outside the UGC office. Following which 150 students were detained and police had to resort to water cannon and tear gas shells to control the situation.
The group marked that it had been almost three months since the Occupy UGC movement started but there is no response till now. Government was on back-foot then and assured the students for a quick response and matter had passed to review committee. “On 5th of November, 2015 the HRD minister Smriti Irani had given certain assurances. However those mean nothing until the HRD ministry comes with an order that the fellowship will be enhanced and expanded. She had also assured us of representation before the review committee, but far from representation we were not even given an appointment with the MHRD”, reads a statement made by the group.
Students are agitated by the irresponsible attitude of the government. There was no meeting on the 16 January and no instructions were given on further meeting. These lack of accountabilities are inducing students to make actions.
Moving forward, the group is initiating a signature campaign across India. The campaign will raise the demand that in the upcoming budget session, allocation of budget for education should be increased by 10% as there is a paucity of fund for education which is a trouble for education and research in India. The campaign will terminate on February 15. And on the day of strike all the signatures will be handed over to HRD ministry. Students have also decided to submit signatures to President and Prime Minister.
This time students are thinking that authorities of police department would support, as during Occupy UGC movement the situation went frenzy. Police department would not like to see any inappropriate behavior by students, as well.