A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), students, in a statement shared on social media, questioned the government’s recent “anti-student politics”.

Modi has been invited as the guest of honour for the annual convocation ceremony to be held on Saturday.

In the statement, several group of students questioned the decreasing budget allocation to higher education, scrapping of the Government of India-Post Matric Scholarship (GoI-PMS) for students from reserved categories in institutes like Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) as well as loopholes in the new Higher Education Committee of India (HECI) Bill.

“Our questions are not directed towards the institute, but towards PM Modi,” said one of the students, requesting anonymity.

“The ever-declining public expenditure in education is making us question the higher education policy of the ruling government and we naturally wonder, whether PM Modi wants education for all or is he promoting the Brahmanical idea of education only for a few people belonging to the upper class backgrounds,” the statement reads.

The statement was also shared by the Coordination of Science and Technology Institutes’ Student Associations (COSTISA) on Facebook, on Friday.

Students have listed a range of problems, which is forcing higher education institutes into debts, automatically leading to fee hikes.

“Be it the General Financial Rules (GFR) of the central government, which force a substantial expenditure on universities, or the lack of grants leaving universities with a massive loan, both are directly affecting the fees of students, making it impossible for students from strained economic backgrounds,” said the statement. Falling rate of employment across India is another concern they highlighted.

“As researchers and students, we believe academia cannot be disconnected from the society and the increasing hate crimes in the society are a growing concern. We would like to question PM Modi’s silence on all these issues,” said a student.

“We collectively condemn all atrocities committed against Dalit and Muslim men and women and demand, through this statement, that PM Modi too should take a positive stand and condemn all hate crimes in the country,” the statement concluded.

First Published: Aug 11, 2018 06:00 IST

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