On 26th of March, the Director of Tata Institute for Social Sciences (TISS) S Parasuraman announced that the institute might be closing down three of its centers as the University Grants Commission has failed to release funds sanctioned for the operation of these centers.
The UGC had sanctioned as PLAN projects and funded the three centers, namely Center for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies, Advanced Centre for Women’s Studies and the Nodal Centre for Excellence under the Scheme of Human Rights Education – on a plan to plan basis which was renewed every 5 years.
“Though these Centers had been sanctioned and funding approved, the institute has not yet received grants for payment of salaries and other operating costs of the Centers” said the official message.
He also said that these centers have been doing a remarkable job in the fields of teaching, research and extension services since their inception and that their progress has been well documented and submitted to the UGC from time to time.
The message also said that the institute has been regularly following up with the UGC for the release of 511.25 lakh, spent by the Institute upfront to manage these three centers.However pending a decision to be taken by the UGC, the natural course of the action for the institute would be to inform the faculty and staff that their appointments shall lapse by the 31st of march, 2017.
All of this happens in the backdrop of various newspapers and online news portals carrying reports of University Grants Commission (UGC) having decided to cut funding for research Centers at several universities across the country that study social discrimination.This news however was refuted by the UGC calling this news be based on a hoax letter which was never issued by the commission.
Later UGC sent another letter to TISS authorities stating that the centres have been granted one year extension. However, it did not mention anything about the fate of the teachers who lost their jobs due to its earlier notices.