The Central Executive Committee of SFI calls upon all its units across the nation to intensify it's struggles and campaigns to restore and increase the non-NET fellowships. The UGC's decision to scrap non-NET fellowships has been hold back till the next meeting followed by a strong anger raised by the students immediately . But more struggles are essential to make sure that this decision will be taken back forever. SFI has decided to observe a 'Protest Week' from 28 October to 03 November against the Modi govt scripted anti-student move using UGC.
The recent move of UGC cannot be seen in isolation with the assault of neo-liberal policies rigorously launched by the Modi led NDA government. This will also be in keeping with the government’s move to open up education as a tradable commodity under WTO-GATS.
SFI demand the non-NET fellowships be granted to the researchers in all universities in India and it should also be increased immediately. These fellowships have played a crucial role in helping the M.Phil. and Ph.D. research scholars of the Central Universities in India to sustain themselves. Researchers from deprived backgrounds will be the most hit by the new decision as should be obvious. Especially in the case of women researchers, the lack of financial independence make them susceptible to familial pressures to leave research. The overall result would be the weakening of research in the country, undermining its knowledge base and intellectual self-reliance even as it makes research degrees inaccessible to the deprived sections of society. It has to be noted that the neo-liberal regime which complains about the lack of resources have already given a tax exemption of 5.89 lack crores to the corporate sector in the last budget. And there are further plans to reduce corporate taxes even more.
SFI will launch a series of protests across the nation in the coming week under the call of 'Protest Week'. SFI will blockade all the regional centres of UGC ( Banglore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Guwahati, Bhopal and Delhi) demanding an immediate action in favour of the researchers in India. The students will burn the copies of the Minutes of the infamous UGC meeting which reached to the decision to scrap non-NET fellowships. There will also be effigy burning of the prime minister Narendra Modi who ruthlessly pursues the neo-liberal policies which worsen the life of all sections in this country including students and researchers. There will be protest gatherings, student rallies etc to pressurise UGC and Central government to withdraw the draconian decision. There is already an online petition (available at the link) started by SFI and we request all the academic and democratic community to sign it. The CEC of SFI gives a call to all unites to organise different campaigns and struggles to make the 'Protest Week' a grand success. We appeal all the sections of academia and common people to join hands and stand up unitedly to resist the assaults on students and to save the research and inclusive education in India.
Dr. V Sivadasan Ritabrata Banerjee MP
President General Secratary