Malappuram: Research scholars are all set to approach Kerala High Court against the central government’s move to deny minority and backward community students to apply for scholarships allocated to. Several researchers and student organizations have raised questions about the criteria advertised by University Grants Commission.
The researchers questioned the University Grants Commission's (UGC) logic for making NET (National Eligibility Test), marks in Post Graduate Level, Income level etc the criteria to get scholarships under Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANC), National Fellowship for scheduled Castes (NFSC ).
This time UGC, the higher education regulator has given out fellowship lists based on the marks scored in 2019 NET exam without calling for applications. Earlier, anyone who had qualified through NET could have applied for the above scholarships irrespective of the year in which they qualified. . But his time, as per the new notification, only those who qualified in NET in June 2019 and December 2019 can apply.
There are many students who could not apply for the scholarship in 2019 and 2020 because of lag in declaration of the result of NET Exam conducted in December 2018. The result of December 2018 NET exam was declared only in April 2019 while the last date to apply for MANF had already expired in January 2019. UGC did not consider those who qualified in December 2018 in the recently published list of NFOBC and MANF.
Earlier there was a separate portal to apply for MAN fellowship but now the same had to be applied through UGC website. The criteria to apply for these scholarships were changed only a month before the publication of final notification.
After B.J.P came into power, one of the major issues regarding the calls for scholarship related to minority and backward communities is that their frequency was reduced from annual to every two years. The last notification of MANF issued was in 2018 and before that in 2016. In 2018, UGC had to withdraw the notification issued with changes in the criteria, related to these scholarships after serious concerns were raised by research scholars. “The government expected that it could evade such criticism in the time of Covid 19 pandemic” accused some of the students.
The Scholars are approaching Kerala High Court against this discriminatory measure of UGC. "Several petitions and complaints were submitted to Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Minority Affairs, andUGC authorities but all went in vain" said Najmunnisa Chemabayil, research scholar at Moulana Azad Univeristy, Hyderabad.