On 17th and 18th of March, various newspapers and online news portals carried the report of University Grants Commission (UGC) having decided to cut funding for research centres at several universities across the country that study social discrimination. According to a report by the Telegraph, UGC has decided to cut funding for various research centers that were established under the 11th five-year plan (2007-2012) and then were later renewed in the 12th plan. While everyone was expecting a renewal of the same to take place in the 13th plan, various varsities that include such centres received circulars saying that their plan funding would end on March 31.
The Wire, reported “According to ministry and UGC sources who spoke to the Telegraph, this order has been sent to all those centres that have not been upgraded to a full-fledged department by the universities.” It also quoted N. Sukumar, Ambedkar scholar and teacher of political science at Delhi University who said “It’s ironic that these centres, which research Dalits, B.R. Ambedkar’s philosophy, social exclusion and inclusive policies like reservation, are being closed down when the University Grants Commission (the higher education regulator) is funding courses on Vedic studies,”
However on 19th of March, NDTV reported that the UGC has said that the letter is “blatantly false” and “based on a forged letter. In its press release, UGC said that it has established Centers for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy in various universities in the Xth Plan on plan-to-plan basis provided these Centres give a satisfactory progress in the areas of their focus. Keeping in view the same procedure the UGC would be extending these Centres from 1st April, 2017 onwards. Reiterating what NDTV said, the UGC claimed that the letter in the newspaper is a forged one and has not been issued by Ms. Sushma Rathore, the undersecretary of UGC. It also reaffirmed that no records of theirs show such a letter being sent and that legal action would be taken against the person behind this forgery.
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