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Monday, July 21, 2014

Initiatives to Check Harassment of Students on the Basis of Caste in Higher Educational Institutions of the Country

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Human Resource Development
21-July-2014 17:59 IST
            The Ministry of Human Resource Development has taken several initiatives to check the incidents of harassment of all students, including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, in the higher educational institutions of the country. 
(i)                 Equal Opportunity Centres : At present, as many as 250 EOCs are functioning in various universities and 2252 in colleges.  In order to make the colleges more responsive to the needs and constraints of the disadvantaged social groups, the University Grants Commission is giving Financial Assistance to all Colleges/Universities which have been included under Sections 2(f) and 12B of the UGC Act, 1956 to establish Equal Opportunity Centres.  The aim and objective of this Scheme is to oversee the effective implementation of policies and programmes for disadvantaged groups, to provide guidance and counselling with respect to academic, financial, social and other matters and to enhance the diversity within the campus.

(ii)               UGC (Promotion of Equity in Higher Education Institutions) Regulations, 2012 and UGC (Grievance Redressal), Regulations, 2012 :  These two Regulations of the UGC intend to give effect in letter and spirit to the provisions of the Constitution and other Statutory provisions and policies for prevention of discrimination on the grounds of caste and to safeguard the interests of the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.  The Regulations also seek to provide for advancement of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students through setting up of Equal Opportunity Cells in each Higher Educational Institution.  The UGC also provides financial assistance to establish the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy to support focused research on the issue of social exclusion related to dalits, tribals and religious minorities. 

 (iii)      The All India Council for Technical Education (Establishment of Mechanism for Grievance Redressal) Regulations, 2012,  provides for establishment of a Grievance Redressal Committee in each technical institutions approved by the AICTE; and appointment of Ombudsman, by the Technical Universities for the purpose of redressal of grievances of the students, parents and others.
(iv)    The Indian Institutes of Technology has Disciplinary Action Committees to take immediate action if any complaint of caste-biased discrimination is received.  They also have student mentors in various Departments who help them in their academic and other problems by providing proper guidance and also bring to the notice of concerned authorities about their problems for timely address. In addition, there are Student Tutors who help them to cope up with their academic problems.
              This information was given by the Union Minister of HRD, Smt. Smriti Irani in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question today.       

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