Published: 10th November 2021
No rule about non-NET fellowship recovery: UGC declares in RTI obtained by JNU students
A Right To Information request from an ex-student of the university revealed that the UGC has no such guidelines in place. But JNU had brought out a notice saying they are following UGC rules
The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) had, in a notice published on November 1, said that the varsity "disburses non-NET fellowships to the students of MPhil or PhD programmes as per guidelines prescribed by the University Grants Commission (UGC)". But the UGC, in a reply to an RTI, said that there is no such rule about recovery of non-NET fellowship and that the university would be able to answer about these issues. The UGC had also told the JNU Students' Union the same thing.
A Right To Information (RTI) request from an ex-student of the university revealed that the UGC has no such guidelines in place. "There is no rule regarding recovery of non-NET fellowship as per the guidelines of UGC NET JRF/MANF/NFSC/NFST/NFOBC," said the UGC and added that the students should approach the university in this regard.
In their November 1 notice, the varsity had said that media reports on the varsity seeking recovery of non-NET fellowships are "misleading". The notice mentioned that the varsity "disburses non-NET fellowships to the students of MPhil or PhD programmes as per guidelines prescribed by the University Grants Commission (UGC)". While the notice did not say that they are not indulging in the recovery of the fellowships, it said that the students have the option to avail of the Junior Research Fellowship if they opt to refund the amount of non-NET fellowship that they have already received.
The students had alleged that the varsity was illegally demanding a refund. The students, upon request by the UGC, had done a survey among those who have been asked to pay back the non-NET fellowship. "The survey found out that the JNU Administration, by violating UGC guidelines have extracted an average of 40-50K and in some cases Rs 1 lakh from students unnecessarily," the students claimed to have told the UGC, who asked the JNUSU to send the details of the affected students with an assurance that they will look into it on an urgent basis.
But the students said that the issue is mostly with the university rather than the UGC. "The administration is asking for the money. The UGC is not. They have even threatened a student who spoke to the media. Once the UGC fellowships start, they (administration) cannot do anything. The money comes to us directly. But they are not even uploading the necessary documents saying that we are bonafide students," said another student.