[Respectful regards, hearty greetings and best wishes to all Gandhians. I am starting this discussion thread to draw your kind attention towards the Gandhian Studies Centres established under the UGC scheme of "Epoch Making Social Thinkers of India". I like to start the discussion with the observations based on the inputs given by my fellow workers and friends on the working of the Centres... It is my humble request that all the members of GandhiTopia family suggest on the meaningful implementation of this scheme...
Vasudeva Krishnadass Devalya...]
I. UGC grants are pending to the centres after their continuation in 2013-14: This reality was observed by us when we had approached the centres seeking their cooperation and collaboration for the Gandhian activities. The common answer we got was that they have no funds as they have not received their allocation from the UGC for 2013-14.
II. Obsession with academic seminars: For the last 10 years we have observed that some centres are obsessed with the big idea of academic seminars! I too had been as a resource person to such seminars under UGC banner with sumptuous meals... where the participants came with an intention of securing the certificates of National Seminar..! Are the seminars failing to attract the public, students and the enthusiasts.
III. Need for revising the guidelines: I request the UGC to see that the guidelines are revised from time to time and they need to be clear worded.
IV. Hiring of a Research Associate: From my acquaintance with many research fellows and research associates who usually approach us for their study I can say that many are underpaid or are working for paltry sum. At many places they are paid as less as Rs. 7000 per month while their counterparts working under other UGC schemes get about Rs. 14000 per month + HRA. The So we hardly get good research workers.. Though UGC allocates Rs. 1.5 Lakhs per year (i.e. Rs.12500per month) for hiring research associates at each centre.. the institutions hardly comply with them. Hence I suggest the following things:
1) UGC must frame certain guidelines regarding basic qualifications of a Research Associate.
2) UGC must clearly mention the amount of the honorarium to be paid to Research Associate.
3) UGC must ensure that the aforesaid honorarium is being paid to the research associate.
4) UGC must ensure a decent pay of honorarium / fellowship at par with that of their MRP counterparts and end the discrimination. (See the UGC Major Research Project Guidelines).
In my perspective, the University Grants Commission needs to ensure the accountability of the centres and be accountable to the civil society by disbursing the outstanding dues (grants) to the centres with clear instructions about their utilisation.
It is my request to the UGC to kindly take appropriate action and issue suitable directions in the larger interest of the public so as to serve the noble purpose of the scheme by making these centres accessible to the public.
“The UGC Scheme Of Epoch Making Social Thinkers Of India”
India has produced great thinkers and social leaders who, by their revolutionary and path breaking thoughts and actions, have left a lasting impact not only on India, but the world as a whole. They have developed indigenous ideas and have provided cultural and ethical identity to India. There is a great need to acquaint the teachers and students with their thinking and work and to involve them in studies, research and field work based extension service programmes of constructive work.
The Indian University system owes to the nation to conduct studies, research and extension programmes, which are pertinent and apply their ideas in the reconstruction of society on moral, ethical and spiritual foundations necessary for a non-violent social order.
In line of the interrelated framework of the ideas of these thinkers the UGC started the scheme of the Epoch Making Social Thinkers of India all sanctioned and encouraged the various centres in the universities / colleges. They are the centres for Gandhian Studies, centres for Nehru Studies, centres for Buddhist Studies and centres for Ambedkar Studies. Besides these established centres, there are centres for Aurobindo Studies, Swami Vivekananda Studies, Dr. Zakir Hussain Studies, Guru Nanak Dev Studies, Indira Gandhi Studies and Dr. K.R. Narayanan Studies. Besides these centres, centres for comparative studies may also be established for the study of specific areas of a thinker such as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Raja Rammohan Roy, Dr.Radhakrishnan, Dr. Zakir Hussain, Swami Vivekananda, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel etc.
The following UGC assistance is provided for each of these studies for research and extension programmes :
I. Non Recurring
(i) Equipment . (audio-visual aids, computer etc. (once at the time of the establishment of the centre. –Rs.3,00,000
II.Recurring P.A. (Yearly at maximum)
i) Books & Journals, -Rs. 50,000/-
ii) Seminars/Workshops/Courses/ Lecturers series -Rs.1,00,000/-
iii) Honorarium to visiting faculty
(Rs. 1000/- for outstation and Rs 500/- for local faculty) -Rs.2,50,000/-
iv) Hiring Services including one research associate -Rs.1,50,000/-
v) Programme Cost (including field action, Preparation of research proposals, TA/DA etc.including meeting of Advisory Committee) -Rs.1,50,000/-
vi) Contingency -Rs. 50,000/-.
Total -Rs.7,50,000/- )
I request all the members to give their valuable suggestions to make this scheme more meaningful and let us join together and forward the learned suggestions to the UGC.
Thanks for your kind response. It is true that this scheme is not that publicised... At the same time we could also observe that many of such centres funded by the UGC were not easily accessible to the public... and the UGC too was not prompt in disbursing funds... It was also observed by my colleagues in the Gandhi Sarvodaya Association that the research workers of the UGC funded centres were paid paltry sums for their works... in spite of the UGC fund allocation... Hence my friends who are senior Gandhian activists asked me to take up this matter.
We fully agree with you that there be some sort of registration and regulation.
Has UGC discontinued financial assistance to Gandhian Studies Centres ?
Some years ago there was a good initiative by the University Grants Commission to establish Gandhian Studies Centres in the Universities and Colleges under the Epoch Making Social Thinkers of India Scheme with the financial assistance from the UGC. As a result many Universities and Colleges had established the Centres for Studies and were performing good and everything was fine upto the end of XI Plan period (2007-2012). Later the proposals for the continuation of the above centres for the XII Plan (w.e.f. 01-04-2013) were processed after some delay and the UGC approval and continuation of the financial assistance finally was communicated to the Universities and Colleges after the month of September 2013. along with the details of the financial allocation sanctioned for the year 2013-14. The UGC has not released grants to the centres.
No new guidelines were issued and the centres were asked to follow the old guidelines of XI Plan.. But, I am told by my friends from Karnataka and Maharashtra that the UGC has not disbursed the allocated / sanctioned grants to the centres till date! On further inquiry it was also predicted that the UGC is planning to discontinue the financial assistance to Gandhian Studies along with the Studies Centres dedicated to other National Leaders / Epoch makers like Swami Vivekananda, Sardar Patel, Nehru, B.R.Ambedkar, Tagore etc. by fully discontinuing the Epoch Making Social Thinkers of India Scheme! Yet, I am not sure about the authenticity of this report.
However, from this link of the PIB http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=108203 I could find this statement dated 6 August 2014.
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Human Resource Development
06-August-2014 18:03 IST
UGC Begins Scheme to Introduce Courses on Social Thinkers of India
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has started a scheme of “Epoch Making Social Thinkers of India” in various universities/colleges to introduce various courses on great thinkers and social leaders, their thoughts and philosophies including Gandhian studies. As reported by the UGC, under this scheme 85 Gandhian Studies Centres have been approved by the UGC for continuation in the XII Plan and 55 Centres have been approved for establishment during XII Plan w.e.f 2013-14.Details of the scheme are available athttp://www.ugc.ac.in/oldpdf/xiplanpdf/epochmakingsociathinkers1.pdf.
This information was given by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani in a written reply to the Lok Sabha question.
MC/DS/SM- social thinkers of india
So, there is a ray of hope for all the Studies Centres including the Gandhian Studies Centres in the Universities and Colleges across India. As a Sarvodaya Volunteer I wish there be such Centres of Studies at least in every district. With this note I request and urge the Ministry of HRD and the Chairman, UGC to take necessary steps to release / disburse the pending grants at the earliest.