Published: 18th March 2021
UGC extends PhD thesis submission deadline. But do researchers have only the ABVP to thank for it?
For months, researchers have been requesting the accreditor for this extension, citing the loss of work and time, owing to COVID-19
A day ago, the University Grants Commission (UGC) extended the deadline for submission of the PhD thesis until December 31, 2021. Two months ago, the UGC had extended it to June 30, 2021 after pleas from researchers asking for an extension. For months, researchers have been requesting the accreditor for this extension, citing the loss of work and time, owing to COVID-19.
While this seems to be a welcome move, the latest debate in student-political circles is about who actually influenced the government body to make this decision. Recently, the members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS' student wing had met the Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal and had submitted a memorandum, seeking an extension. The student body now says that the UGC has accepted its demands and has given the extension. "Owing to the pandemic situation, the UGC has accepted ABVP’s demand and has given an extension to research scholars. Keeping in mind the best interests of research scholars, ABVP had put forth the demand of extension to UGC Chairman and the Minister of Education," reads its statement.
But is ABVP the only organisation that has campaigned for this extension? Activists associated with other student political organisations definitely don't think so. Pritish Menon, the SFI's Delhi Secretary told us that he was quite happy about the UGC's move. "This is a welcome move. This was something absolutely necessary for the researchers. The SFI will release a formal statement on this soon," he says. However, Pritish does not believe that it is the ABVP's win completely. "We (SFI) have also met the minister and had submitted a memorandum on this. The ABVP doesn't respond to any of the united calls of students," he says. The SFI had met the minister once during the beginning of the lockdown and once, two months back.
Neeraj Kundan, the NSUI National President says that the NSUI too is happy about the move. However, he has a few disagreements. "The notification doesn't say anything about the fellowships. What is the point of extending deadlines without extending the fellowships? Also, extending the deadline by a year would have been ideal," he says. When asked about the ABVP's part in influencing the UGC, he said, "It seems like only the ABVP gets to meet the ministers and the others don't. Is it because they are affiliated with the ruling party?" Neeraj adds that the NSUI had conducted a march earlier in March, asking the ministry to extend the deadlines, owing to the pandemic.