Central government defends research bar on Indian students
The Centre on Sunday defended its new policy debarring Indian students selected under an overseas scholarship scheme from pursuing studies and research on Indian culture, history and social studies in foreign universities, saying Indian institutions are best suited for such studies.
The ministry of social justice and empowerment issued a clarification on media reports about the new provision under the National Overseas Scholarship (NOS) that many scholars fear would prevent Indian students from pursuing research on caste conflicts, social disharmony and poverty.
The scholarship is provided to students belonging to Scheduled Caste, de-notified nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes, landless farm workers and traditional artisan community.
This year, the guidelines have been changed to introduce a new provision that says topics or courses concerning Indian culture, heritage, history, and social studies shall not be covered by the NOS.
“Topics related to India-based research such as Indian culture/heritage/history/social studies can be undertaken in top Indian institutes, central universities etc as the student will get more practical expertise and knowledge by learning/studying from Indian professors who would have more experience and practical knowledge about the subject than their counterparts in foreign universities. In any case, students pursuing these topics need to spend a large portion of their course period in India for conducting their research,” the clarification issued by the ministry said.
The ministry added that the slots under NOS scheme were limited to 125. If students pursuing the above topics are encouraged to study in India, it would provide an opportunity to those wanting to pursue other subjects for which foreign universities are better equipped.
“The candidates can thus study abroad on more new-age topics and bring back that knowledge to India rather than go to a foreign university to do Masters and PhD on India and its culture, which can be very well be learnt here itself,” it said.
The ministry said there were many other scholarship/fellowship schemes being implemented by it for the welfare of students belonging to the SC community.
Students who wish to pursue courses on Indian culture, heritage, history and social studies may apply under those schemes for scholarship, it said.