The Grant Strategy: ‘Occupy UGC’ on the Lens

“The field that cannot feed even its tiller,
Burn down every stalk that stands on it.”
~Saadat Hasan Manto~
On the 7th of October, 2015, the University Grants Commission (UGC) – the central regulatory body for universities in India – in an almost bizarrely unforeseen move, wholly withdrew the decades-long “non-National Eligibility Test (NET) Fellowship” under the cited pretext of resource constraint and mismanagement of the fellowship grants program. This set of grants, albeit limited in capacity, was the lifeline of a distinctively large number of research students from various universities across the country, buttressing the financial weight of almost five (or more) years of material-heavy research. A day after the decision was made public on the 20th of October, three busloads of students from the coveted Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi turned up at the doorsteps of the UGC Head Office situated in ITO, with a downright design to collectively question the move. Purportedly, the immediate demand was not for anything elaborate, but merely a legitimate explanation or rationalisation for the withdrawal of the essential fellowship.

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