Hundreds of Students from JNU, DU and Jamia occupy the premises of UGC demanding immediate revocation of the decision to discontinue the UGC Non NET Fellowship. The UGC Non-NET fellowship which was started in 2008 to encourage research in the universities has proved to be a life line for researchers who do not have access to other scholarships. It has encouraged students from different backgrounds to continue their research and what is required is to increase the amount from the paltry sum of 5000 for M.Phil students and 8000 for Ph.D students. The Decision of the Modi Government to withdraw this fellowship is a direct assault on students who want to pursue a career in academic research in the universities of India. The implications of this decision to withdraw the Non-NET Fellowship are far reaching:
1. The Non-NET Fellowship was envisioned as a tool to encourage students to do research as it provided sustenance to all M.Phil, Ph.D students. Its withdrawal will force many students to opt for other employments as the minimum sustenance cover for research engagement will disappear.
2. It will have an adverse impact on the Universities itself as the aggregate of research which is any way low in India will dip further.
3. The Modi Government’s pro-corporate, anti-people agenda on education is unfolding rapidly as it disincentivizes research in Indian Universities clearing ground for Corporate education providers to make wind fall profits by monopolizing research oriented higher education in India.
4. The freedom and independence of research will also be compromised as the funding for research will be tailored according to the economic and ideological needs of Capitalists and their political cronies. There is a rising concern in countries where there is corporate funding of research that corporate interests are influencing the research outcomes. (Read: Science’s Worst Enemy: Corporate Funding )
5. It will become absolutely impossible for thousands of students who come from economically and socially backward sections to pursue a career in research as they will face the forbidding parameters set at the entry level by the new corporate oriented research regime.