On the afternoon of October 21, students from several universities in Delhi began ‘Occupying’ the premises of the University Grants Commission (UGC) — the body that governs the functioning of universities across the country. The occupation, which began more than 15 days ago, continues with students raising slogans, holding dharnas and literally living on the premises.
Their main protest is against the discontinuation of the non-National Eligibility Test (NET) Fellowship for research scholars. Their demands include increasing the stipend for the fellowship from Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 for MPhil students, and from Rs 8,000 to 12,000 for PhD students. They also want the fellowship to be extended to all central and state universities in the country.
The Indian Express spoke to some students who have been camping outside the office from day one to understand what the non-NET fellowship means to them and why they continue to ‘Occupy UGC’