Statement Against the arbitrary note by Registrar (TISS) deciding to discontinue DH and Hostel to eligible GoI-PMS SC/ST students
“Lack of education leads to lack of wisdom, which leads to lack of morals,
which leads to lack of progress, which leads to lack of money,
which leads to the oppression of the lower classes.
See what state of the society one lack of education can cause!”
~ Jyotirao Phule
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, which is a fully centrally funded public educational deemed university located in Mumbai and has three more campuses in Tuljapur, Hyderabad and Guwahati. According to the institute data presented during Convocation 2017, there are around 5000 students studying in the four campuses under the Masters, MPhil and PhD Programs. The institute came up with a circular dated 25th May 2017 stating that the institute will not support SC, ST and OBC students apart from tuition fees. The reason for this arbitrary decision was given as the 20 crores of deficit that has not been paid (whose accountability is not totally in public domain) by various ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and other ministries of state governments. This is not the first time when TISS has introduced such a move. In 2013, a similar notification was brought by the institute, but was rolled back after protests by students. In 2015, the institute decided to stop financial support given to OBC students. In 2016, it stopped non-NET fellowship for the research scholars. Also, in the same year, they did not reimburse the field expenses of the many students belonging to SC and ST categories.
The current TISS administration’s interim circular in the beginning of the semester without prior notification or any mention in the prospectus is not only arbitrary but also a deliberate attempt to exert sudden financial pressure on the GoI beneficiaries of all campuses leading them to a state of financial helplessness. The larger section of the student community is against this decision. This arbitrary decision leads to the questioning of the ill motive of administration and leads to the following questions: Why was this not informed in the prospectus itself? and suddenly payment of DH and Hostel fees is demanded from the students to secure admission. If the second year students were admitted as per GoI norms (which was mentioned in the prospectus) then why the policy change overnight and the student should has to pay the concern fees?
Article 46 of the Indian Constitution directs the State to promote with special care, the education and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. TISS was taking progressive steps and following the constitutional provisions. However, the institute has come up with such notification dated 26th May signed by registrar, which kills the spirit of social justice. The steps by the institute is contradictory to institute’s vision itself, due to the kind of educational exclusion that is going to happen with SC, ST and OBC students after implementation of this notification in the institute.
The situation has percolated down to burden the economically poor and socially excluded sections in academic spaces. The constant fee hikes in recent years and scrapping of financial support to OBC, SC and ST students have proven to be anti-constitutional and exclusionary.
We, the students of Ambedkarite Students Association, TISS, Mumbai believe that the decisions of state and state funded universities cannot reduce the spaces of education to certain economically well-off sections of the society by delimiting the opportunities of the economically poor and socially excluded sections of the society, and thus leading to the violation of Article 46 of the Indian constitution.
With rising political challenges and Brahminical deliberations leading to exclusionary educational policies, we stand against such a thought process in the society. We believe in the Constitution of India and vow to abide by it. Violation of constitutional principles and values are not acceptable. We strongly condemn the deliberate killing of the spirit of Indian Constitution within educational premises.
In the wake of all the happenings, we, the Students of Ambedkarite Students Association, TISS, stand with TISS as an institution; but at the same time, we oppose the decision of scrapping of financial-aid to the eligible GoI-PMS students. We strongly urge the administration to roll back the decision immediately.
The unrest in the student community is all manufactured and directed to satisfy the hunger of the Brahmanical Society by spreading anarchy among students. The understanding of the issues from an Ambedkarite perspective makes us think to restructure the society on the principles of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Justice in a democratic manner. ASA has always remained in support of the student fraternity and has come forward to resolve these uncertainties. We believe in the constitutional spirit of debate and discussion and wherever necessary we will approach the means of social action to achieve our demands.
Our demands are:
1. Since it was the policy during the admission SC, ST and OBC students should not be asked to sign any undertaking of paying fees in future.
2. Withdraw the note sent by Registrar on May 25th 2017 since it is illegal and does not have any official validity of inward/outward number.
3. Keep the Social Protection Office, Standing Committee for SC/ST and SC/ST students in the loop in all future decisions regarding their academic and administrative matters in the institute.
4. Make sure of the presence of student representative in any decision related to SC, ST, OBC students in administrative level.
5. Build a hostel for SC and STs (students demanded the same from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Govt. of India and they agreed if TISS provides space. Thus, TISS should demand the same from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India)
Jai Bheem!! Jai Savitri!! Jai Birsa!! Jai Periyar!! Jai Ayyankali!!
Educate! Agitate! Organise!
~ Ambedkarite Students Association (ASA)- TISS, Mumbai