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UGC plans action against non-complying varsities
UGC plans action against non-complying varsities

MUMBAI: The University Grants Commission (UGC) plans to come down heavily on colleges and universities that are not complying with its guidelines on putting in place a mechanism to address caste-based discrimination on campuses.

The development comes in the wake of the alleged suicide of Payal Tadvi, a 26-year-old second-year postgraduate student in Mumbai’s TN Topiwala National Medical College, which is attached to the BYL Nair Hospital.

“We will first make a list of colleges and universities that are not complying with our guidelines on caste-based discrimination and ask them to immediately do so,” said Rajnish Jain, secretary, UGC. “We will be sending out a circular to the institutes in a day or two and appropriate action will be taken against the erring institutions.”

More than 800 universities and over 41,000 colleges across India come under the UGC, the country’s apex body for regulating higher education.

There is need to be more sensitised and institutes affiliated under the UGC need to deal with such (caste-based) cases more sensitively,” UGC chairman DP Singh told

Three doctors, accused of using casteist slurs against Tadvi and allegedly abetting suicide, were booked under the relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Anti-Ragging Act, the IT Act and Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code. Tadvi allegedly committed suicide in the hostel of the BYL Nair Hospital on May 22.

As per the UGC guidelines, universities and colleges are required to have an SC/ST committee for complaint redressal, a web page with constituent member details and dedicated channels to lodge complaints.

The UGC has sought to address the issue of caste-based violence through its guidelines to promote equity by setting up equal opportunity cells (EOCs) in every institute of higher education. In 2011, it had rolled out specific guidelines to address and prevent caste discrimination. In 2016, it amended its anti-ragging regulations and made discrimination on the basis of colour, caste and race part of these guidelines.

However, according to a recent survey by a group of researchers from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), BITS Pilani and Christ University, many universities have yet to implement the recommendations made by the UGC to address caste-based discrimination. Less than a third (42) of the 132 institutes surveyed had any information that could enable students or faculty to access the EOCs or SC-ST Cell or lodge a complaint. Only four out of the 15 institutes (deemed as ‘institutes of excellence’), four of the 13 IITs (that were established before 2008), and none of the six firstgeneration IIMs had this information, the survey revealed.

“Some of these institutes claim to have a cell on their websites but there is no information available as to how one could lodge a complaint or approach the committee. They are supposed to make such information publicly available,” said Sumithra Sankaran, research associate at IISc. (SOURCES ECONOMIC TIMES)(UPDATED ON JUNE 8TH, 2019)
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