Published: 20th April 2020
SFI to hold protest from home during lockdown, calls for fee exemption for students
The government must provide a minimum amount of cash to the students or directly transfer it to their bank accounts, said the students' federation
With a 19-day extension on the 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, students are in a fix all over the country. Some have trouble convincing their landlord why they can't pay the entire rent these two months while others are stuck in a hostel, hundreds of kilometres from home.
The Students' Federation of India (SFI) has put forward a list of 11 demands on behalf of atudents and will protest, albeit from their homes on April 21. "The government must provide a minimum amount of cash to the students or directly transfer it to their bank accounts. They also need to disburse the fellowship and scholarship and grants to the students and exempt the fee for now," said Mayukh Biswas, General Secretary of the SFI, adding that the hostel must not charge the fee during the lockdown either. "Government must pay the rent on behalf of the students those who are being asked to pay the rent or face evacuation. They must take necessary steps to ensure the basic needs of the students as well," he added.
The student body also demanded that there is a need to ensure more tests and faster tests for COVID-19. "The government needs to arrange PPE kits for health workers and assure their safety. During the lockdown period, universal rations must be available to all students," read their official statement. It also added that unemployment benefits (amounting to the minimum wage) should be given to assist the unemployed. The students demanded strict action against those who circulate fake news and communal rhetoric.
One of the most affected sections of the public has been the students with limited means who need to continue their academics, said VP Sanu, President of the SFI. "The country doesn’t have adequate internet penetration yet. In places where internet is accessible, there is the issue of a large number of students from humble backgrounds finding it difficult to afford the required bandwidth," he added.