Posts

How the Centre has cut down on funds to students from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe community

"On February 20, the students’ union of the Tata Institu...te of Social Sciences, for the first time in its history, called for a strike across all four campuses – in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Tuljapur (in Maharashtra) and Guwahati. The trigger was the institute’s decision to withdraw financial aid to students from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe community who were eligible for the Union government’s post-matriculation scholarship.

In 2015, the institute withdrew financial aid to students belonging to the Other Backward Classes, and the students’ union has since argued that the representation of that community in the institute has taken a hit.

A strike of this scale has never before been attempted in the institute. Yet, on February 21, the day of the strike, not a single student could be seen in the classrooms. A community that did not have a reputation of being overtly confrontational had been pushed into holding a strike, which is well into its third day now. Confrontations with the administration have turned nasty as students turn their ire onto the institutional authority most visible to them. But the question is: where have the funds for the fee waivers gone?

A story of scholarships
Established by the Union government’s Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 1944, the post-matriculation scholarship scheme has long been the economic spine that has supported students from marginalised communities who venture into higher education. Variants of these scholarships are available to both Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students. With these funds, students from economically weaker sections of these communities have been able to overcome the hurdle of increasing tuition fees and dining hall charges at the institute, which would have otherwise made it difficult for them to continue their studies.

This scheme is now in jeopardy.

The apathy of the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government has been exacerbated by the present Bharatiya Janata Party regime.

Over the years, the Union Finance Ministry has continuously rejected the financial demands made of it by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment. This means that the department has a fraction of the amount it requires to disburse as post-matriculation scholarships across India.

A deposition before the standing committee on social justice and empowerment by the Department for Social Justice and Empowerment said that this has resulted in ballooning arrears in the “Scheme of Post Matric Scholarships for SCs [Scheduled Castes] in which there are pending arrears to the tune of approximately Rs 8,000 crore” for the 2017-’18 financial year.

The standing committee report, which was presented in Parliament last March, notes that “the Department submitted a requirement of Rs 10,355.71 crore to the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure. The Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure allocated of Rs 6,908.00 crore for the year 2017-’18 against the projected requirement of the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment”.

Immediately after this, the report notes that scholarship students will be the worst hit.

The 2018 Budget has been significantly worse in this regard, with the amount budgeted for the post-matriculation scholarship for Scheduled Castes falling from Rs 3,348 crore to Rs 3,000 crore.

So far, the pending amount for scholarships for Scheduled Caste students stands at Rs 8,000 crore, while it is Rs 3,156 crore for Scheduled Tribe students.

What this means for campuses
Higher education has always been a zone of exclusivity in a developing country such as ours, with only 4.5% of the population educated up to graduate level or above. In such an environment, faced with both social ostracism and economic barriers, the climb for marginalised communities has always been steep. By starving such communities of the essential funds required to make this climb, higher education becomes a zone of exclusion, reserved only for those who can afford it. It strikes a blow to institutional diversity.

In turn, university students, who find this financial support suddenly withdrawn, vent their fury at their varsity administrations, and the conflict turns ugly. This financial exclusion, however, is a national narrative. But the conflict inevitably gets bogged down as a dispute between the administration and students, when it should actually be seen as a dispute with successive Union governments that are starving essential schemes of their funds.

But some positive signs have emerged from the strike. Students’ unions in Jawaharlal Nehru University as well as the University of Hyderabad have expressed solidarity, and a march is now being organised in Delhi to demand the release of funds required to continue this financial aid.

Among those involved in this effort are the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, a human rights and advocacy coalition dedicated to the agenda of Dalits and Adivasis; the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, a premier budget-tracking non-profit, and the Delhi Solidarity Group, a liberal, progressive coalition of people’s movements.

Protecting diversity
In India, as of today, there remain a handful of institutions where students from various sections of society can converge, discuss, and articulate their views freely. The Tata Institute of Social Sciences has always claimed to be a proponent and a defender of this ideal, and has produced several policy makers, academics, business persons and activists dedicated to this ideal. By starving it of finances to support its diversity, the Indian government is killing an institution that has existed before India won its independence, and by making it a zone of exclusion the government is killing the ideals on which it is supposed to stand and grow.

See More
Successive Union governments have refused to release funds needed to disburse scholarships to eligible Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students.
scroll.in

While there has been systematic dehumanisation of the vulnerable sections of the society over the years, the total collapse of legal machinery has added to widespread criminalisation of youth. Day-to-day crime in the state is not limited to petty theft anymore. There are kidnappings, murders and highly disturbing cases of sexual abuse of minors where the autopsies conducted have indicated spine-chilling acts of violence.

The recent spurt in crimes against women and the less than ideal response of the state machinery, underlines the urgent need for a strong social movement.
thewire.in
Reviews
Feminist India has no reviews yet.
Tell people what you think
Photos
Posts
Feminist India shared a link.
February 5
The bench condemned khap panchayats for inciting violence and demanded that the Centre do more to curb honour killings.
scroll.in
Feminist India shared a link.
January 31
The team needs to assess whether the child should be taken to AIIMS from the ICU of Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital.
scroll.in
Feminist India shared a link.
January 30
In Punjab and Haryana, for example, the sex ratio among infants to 6 year olds is 1,200 males per 1,000 females, even though they are among the wealthiest states
theprovince.com

"After my address on my own trajectory as a feminist scholar and about transnational feminism, a young woman asked me what I thought of some of the more uncomfortable aspects of the #metoo movement, which has found its own massive expression on Indian social media. I told her we needed to embrace the discomfort. Then I asked her what she thought. Feminists in India are divided on the publication on Facebook of a list of academics whom a student accused of sexual assault and harassment. “I have studied with some of these professors,” the student at Sophia’s said to me.

I braced myself for some rape-apologist remark. Instead, she said, “And just because I did not face harassment from these professors doesn’t mean that another female student is lying about her bad experience.”

What my son must know is that none of this is as difficult as the men around him might be saying it is.
theestablishment.co

"After my address on my own trajectory as a feminist scholar and about transnational feminism, a young woman asked me what I thought of some of the more uncomfortable aspects of the #metoo movement, which has found its own massive expression on Indian social media. I told her we needed to embrace the discomfort. Then I asked her what she thought. Feminists in India are divided on the publication on Facebook of a list of academics whom a student accused of sexual assault and harassment. “I have studied with some of these professors,” the student at Sophia’s said to me.

I braced myself for some rape-apologist remark. Instead, she said, “And just because I did not face harassment from these professors doesn’t mean that another female student is lying about her bad experience.”

What my son must know is that none of this is as difficult as the men around him might be saying it is.
theestablishment.co

"The life lessons that you want, come to a comments section and you will also get to know all the different sexual positions that they would like to rape us in. It is 2017 and female actors get paid one third of their male counterparts. We are told that we have absolutely no value when it comes to satellite rights, that is when they sell a movie to a television house, and also play any part in box office collections. So I am thinking they might as well buy a few extra furniture for the set design or maybe they actually do think of us as furniture already."

cc: Women in Cinema Collective

The Malayalam actress spoke at a TEDx talk in Thiruvananthapuram.
scroll.in

That's one happily ever after we can get behind!

No automatic alt text available.
Feminist India
Community

Check it out and if you're an artist or have produced interesting artwork, go share!

Wait, what?
Above 35 AND married? I can't seem to comprehend this sign at all. Of what use is this and why is this being put up at a premier institution?

cc: IIT Bombay

Image may contain: text
Feminist India
Community

Today, the Supreme Court will hear a PIL seeking an independent probe into the death of the judge BH Loya. At the time of his death, Loya was presiding over the... Sohrabuddin trial, in which Amit Shah was a prime accused. The case will be heard by a bench comprising Arun Mishra and Mohan Shantanagoudar.

From November, Niranjan Takle's report that broke the shocking details emerging from his investigation into Judge Loya's death.

See More
In December 2014, the judge BH Loya died while on a trip to Nagpur. Now, his family breaks its silence, raising serious questions regarding his death.
caravanmagazine.in
Feminist India shared a link.
January 12
Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph met the press to detail their issues.
thehindu.com

"A newly established Mental Health Care Act suggests the briefest idea of what we call a people-centric approach, but the sector still remains highly unregulated from different perspectives. One such perspective involves professionalism, ethics and the progressive outlook mental health professionals are genuinely expected to have. This issue has been spoken of very rarely in India but is now gaining the attention it needs.

Keeping this in focus, we have developed a survey that intends to collect the experiences of people who have undergone therapy or any mental health treatment in order to determine the prevalence of social discrimination and unethical qualities in practitioners."

At a time when we can write the longest review for the purchase of a hairpin, there exists the dark and vague world of unmonitored mental health care.
youthkiawaaz.com

Oh no! Feminists everywhere!

Being Feminist

Image may contain: text

wow

More than half of the country’s youths want India under military rule. Over 65 percent people polled want a ban on boys and girls belonging to different religions meeting in public places. These are...
huffingtonpost.in