The 2019 UGC guidelines published on 12th March have cut down funding for WSCs across the country by up to 40 per cent. This might result in shutting down of a number of WSCs which had opened only because of the funding provided by UGC.
Previous guidelines talked in detail about teaching and training in women study centres, the new guidelines that are out, however, are just a slim document of 23 pages that do not address anything particularly and the guidelines state that the funding has to be cut down which can result in wounding up off some staff positions as well.
All over India, many colleges pay for and run the Women Development Centers themselves. many are dependent on University Grants Commission and the grant it provides, reduction in the grant may mean the end of many of these dependent Centers. Earlier guidelines had allocated funds around 47.5 lakhs to 75 lakhs per annum to centres depending on each centre. The new guidelines have revised that to 12.5 lakh to 40 lakh per centre per annum.
The new guidelines can have a serious impact on these Centers with hampering their working as they are already working on a higher financial level and lowering the financial aid now will cause hindrance in their functioning.
This revision of funds can have serious implications for these centres. The staff that they have hired mostly women scholars might have to be let go. Secondly, the tight budget also means that scholars currently pursuing women’s studies will not be able to vie for teaching and research positions that were previously being funded by the UGC. Finally, MA, MPhil and PhD students may suddenly be left without professors and guides in the middle of their courses.
The whole thing has already taken a political turn where Congress is attacking the Modi government and claiming their coinage’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” and “New India” were at war with each other with government pulling back from the funding that supports women empowerment.
Pune-based Indian Association for Women’s Studies (IAWS) also expressed deep concern against the cut as the untold cuts could cause serious harm on the Women Development Scheme.
IAWS has also planned on submitting a memorandum to the chairperson of the UGC with signatures from all over the country to reconsider and revise the new policies.
Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express