Mumbai: Six students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad campus, started an indefinite hunger strike on Tuesday at 9 am in a demand to renew the Government of India Post-Matric Scholarship (GOI-PMS).
The GOI-PMS scholarship enables students belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) to be financially assisted by the government for higher education.
The income ceiling of parents/guardian for eligibility is Rs 1 lakh per annum.
However, students whose parents have an income as low as Rs 20,000 have been charged with bills that amount to Rs 9,300 per semester for only food and hostel, tuition fees apart.
This has forced many students to quit pursuing their higher studies even after taking admission and in some cases, continuing the course for a year or more.
The Registrar for all four TISS campuses who is located in Mumbai has repeatedly ignored how this has also pushed many students into heavy loan debts.
A TISS Hyderabad representative said on Monday night that the hunger strike is the last step and is an ultimatum to the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) and University Grants Commission (UGC).
TISS campuses at Guwahati, Tuljapur and Mumbai have also been protesting for a week now.
Students at the Mumbai campus have blocked the main entrance, refusing to yield until their demands are met.
The Registrar has sent a letter to the students requesting them to move the blockade, otherwise, the authorities would recourse to stricter action, a copy of which has been sent to the Trombay Police Station.
Admission for the academic year 2018-19 is scheduled to begin in Mumbai on Tuesday.