JOHAR TISS/ ADIVASI STUDENTS’ FORUM’S (ASF) STATEMENT
TATA INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
28th April 2018.
Why Tata Institute of Social Sciences should not ask Hostel and Dining Hall charges from the eligible GoI- PMS students belonging to ST/SC/ OBC (NC) communities?
67th Day of STRIKE!
Our Struggle Continues…!!
The results for the various M.A. programs at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) for 2018-2020 batch was declared yesterday (27th April 2018), and with it the institute has made it very clear to discontinue its policy of adjusting the Hostel and Dining Hall expenses from the other government grants for the eligible GoI- PMS students belonging to the ST/SC communities, which the institute has been following since the early 1980’s. With the necessary permission from the U.G.C the institute used the grants from the government to meet the Hostel, Dining Hall and other expenses incurred on the GoI- PMS students belonging to ST/ SC communities. This policy was extended to the OBC (NC) students in 2011 but withdrawn in 2015. This policy not only made possible for the students coming from the marginalized communities to enter into the portals of this premier institution but also made possible the Institutes mandate of reservation for these communities. Despite the introduction of this policy it was only in the early 1990’s that the institute was able to fulfill its Constitutional mandate of reservation of 22.5% for the ST/SC students.
According to the fee structure (2018-20), ST/SC students who are eligible of the GoI- PMS will have to pay Rs. 12500/- and OBC (NC) about Rs. 32700/- as upfront fees during admission including Caution Deposit (Refundable) of Rs. 2500/-. Beside this they also have to pay Rs. 5000/- in August 2018 and October 2018 respectively as hostel charges. They will also have to pay monthly Dining Hall charges. This fees structure for 2018-20 batch has come as a revelation to the student community, as the TISS administration was constantly telling the students for the past two months that they are making efforts to make the institute accessible to the students coming from the marginalized communities. This also comes at a time when discussion, dialogues and negotiations is happening at the multiple levels, and were hopeful that the institute would not take any decision at this point against at the interest of the students and its own mission and vision. As per the the discussion in the hearing called by the Commission for the Scheduled Tribes on 12th April 2018, the institute should not ask any kind of fees including the Hostel and Dining Hall charges from the Scheduled Tribe (S.T.) students and revert back to its old policy. On 22nd March 2018, the Institute published a notification (No. SPO/Admission/2018-19/2018) stating, “The Institute will take step to support eligible SC/ST students GoI- PMS who are not able to make upfront payment of Rs. 9500/-at the time of admission, through upfront student aid upto Rs. 5000/-, so that the financial burden for needy students at the time of admission is kept to minimum. The details of the process would be worked out before or at the time of admission into the programmes for which the candidates qualify.” By asking the eligible ST/SC students upfront fee of Rs. 12500/- the institute is not following the guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Dept. of Higher Education, Govt. of India. According to the GoI notification (F.No.14-5/2013-SC/ST) dated 13th Jan 2014, “No fees need to be charged at the time of admission from those ST/SC students who are eligible for Post-matric scholarships/ Top Class scholarships. At the time of admission they may be advised to deposit the fee with the institution as soon as they receive the scholarship amount.” As the Caution Deposit (refundable) is not covered under the GoI- PMS scheme for the eligible ST/SC students, the institute cannot charge Rs. 2500/- as Caution Deposit.The institute cannot charge any kind of fees, including hostel and dining hall charges during the time of admission from the GoI- PMS students belonging the ST/ SC communities during the time of admission. As the Hostel and Dining Hall charges is included in the GoI- PMS, the institution cannot ask students to pay it upfront. Thus the institute can only ask Rs. 2000/- (Rs. 1500/- as Medical Insurance and Rs. 500/- as Student Union) from the GoI- PMS students belonging to the ST/SC communities during the time of admission.
Hostel and Dining Hall charges are covered under GoI- PMS
TISS Administration have been claiming that the Hostel and Dining Hall charges are not part of the GoI- PMS scheme, and thus the GoI- PMS students (ST/ SC) who till now were exempted from paying Hostel and Dining Hall charges will have to pay from the academic year 2018- 19. This amount would come up to Rs. 62000/- annually. The OBC (NC) students were also exempted from paying Hostel and Dining Hall charges till 2014 but since 2015 this policy has been withdrawn for them. The GoI- PMS regulations (Applicable from 01/07/2010) suggests otherwise i.e. the Hostel and Dining Hall charges are covered under the maintenance grant. As the Hostellers would require more amount to be paid for their fooding and lodging, they receive more maintenance allowance compared to the Day Scholars (see the table Below). The difference in maintenance allowance for the Hostellers and Day Scholars suggests that the maintenance grant covers the Hostel and Dining Hall charges. As presented below in the table the three GoI schemes for the Scheduled Tribe (S.T.) students, there is no separate heads for the Dining Hall and Hostel charges, but only Maintenance Allowance and Living Expenses. This clearly indicates that the expenses incurred on fooding and lodging is covered within the Maintenance Allowance or Living Expenses.
Further the GoI- PMS regulations [Scheme of Post Matric Scholarship to Students belonging to Scheduled Tribes for studies in India (Applicable FROM 01/07/2010)]defines hostel in NOTE 3 as, “Normally the term ‘Hostel’ is applicable to a common residential building and a common mess for the students run under the supervision of the educationalinstitution authorities. In the case college authorities are unable to provide accommodation in the college Hostel, an approved place of residence can also be treated as Hostel for the purpose of this scheme. The place will be approved by the Head of the institution after due inspection and keeping in view the rules and regulations laid down by the university, if any. In such case, a certificate to the effect that the student is residing in an approves place of residence as he is unable to get accommodation in the college hostel should be be furnished by the Head of Institution. It is further clarified that such deemed hostels should consist of such accommodation as is hired at least by a group of 5 (five) students living together, usually with common mess arrangements.”
In NOTE 4 it is further stated that,
“Scholars who are entitled to free board and/or lodging will be paid maintenance at 1/3rd of the rate of Hostellers.”
Firstly, the NOTE 3 clearly indicates that the Dining Hall/ Mess/Fooding is part of the Hostel and can not be treated separately. Secondly, the NOTE 4 indicates that if the students are provided free boarding and lodging, then they will receive maintenance at 1/3rd of the rate of Hostellers. In this case the logic is that, if the institution is not charging Hostel and Dining Hall charges from the students, then they would receive less amount as maintenance allowance. Since the students will not have to pay the Hostel and Dining Hall charges, they would require less amount for other expenses. This clearly suggests that the Hostel and Dining Hall charges are included within the Maintenance allowance.
Implications of charging Hostel and Dining Hall fees from the students belonging to the marginalized communities
In the early 1980’s the institute had realized that without any support mechanism students belonging to the marginalized communities cannot study at TISS, and thus introduced a number of initiatives. These initiatives included:
1. The prospectus and application form which was sold at Rs. 10/- was provided free of cost to the ST/SC candidates.
2. The ST/SC applicants were provided travelling expenses to attend the interview, and boarding and lodging free of cost at the Institute hostel during the period of stay in the Institute for their admission test.
3. The ST/ SC students were paid Rs. 2/- per field work day for meeting their fieldwork expenses.
4. The Institute with the approval of the UGC paid to the ST/SC students the difference between the scholarship sanctioned to them for the boarding and lodging and the actual expenditure they had to incur for boarding and lodging at the Institute.
The institute had to introduced these policy because the fees and other expenses charged by the institute was very high in the 1980’s, and thus it was necessary for the institute to develop a mechanism to integrate the most marginalized sections of the society into its student community. Presently the fees and other expenses i.e. hostel and dining hall charges of the institute is exceptionally high compared to the other centrally funded and deemed to be university, offering Master degree (M.A.) programs. Therefore it is must for the institute to continue its Hostel and Dining Hall fee waiver for the students belonging to the marginalized sections so that they can continue to study at institute. The institute has the experience of withdrawing the fee waiver for the OBC (NC) students in 2015, which resulted in the decline in OBC students from 27% in 2014 to 18% in 2017.
Adivasi Students’ Forum, TISS, strongly supports and stand with the demands of the students for Hostel and Dining Hall fee waiver for the ST/ SC/OBC(NC) students at Tata Institute of Social Sciences.We, the Adivasi students strongly condemn the recent fee structure guidelines (Table no.3), applicable for SC/ST students eligible for GoI-PMS for the Masters programme (2018-2020) and demand its immediate withdrawal, and charge only Rs. 2000/- as upfront fees from the eligible GoI-PMS students belonging the ST/SC communities.
Jai Birsa..!! Jai Phulo…!! Jai Jhano…!!
Jai Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Munda…!!
JOHAR TISS/ ADIVASI STUDENTS’ FORUM (ASF),
TATA INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
[Via Ajmal Khan]