SFI activists take out procession

The Government's decision to reduce by half the intake of students in the three IIITs in the State triggered strong reactions on Friday. Activists of the city unit of the Students Federation of India (SFI) on Friday took out a procession and burnt an effigy of the Government, while TDP district convener and MLA Devineni Umamaheswara Rao said that it was a clear case of “failure of the government”.

“At the time of laying foundation stone, Sonia Gandhi talked a lot about quality infrastructure being created for the IIITs. The Government also made tall promises to rural students. Now it is not showing interest to provide enough funds to IIITs,” Mr. Rao said. He wondered why the Government that boasted about presenting a budget with an outlay of Rs. 1.13 lakh crore could not mobilise resources for the three prestigious IIITs. Nearly 1,000 students would lose opportunity every year to study in each of the three IIITs because of the Government's decision. Proper facilities matching with the initial promises were not created even for the existing 12,000 students studying in these institutions. Because of dilution of its own priorities by the Government, there was a setback to the desires and aspirations of thousands of rural students. Mr. Umamaheswara Rao demanded that the Government tender an explanation to the parents who admitted their children into the IIITs putting trust in its promises on providing top class and international level facilities for rural students. Lack of enough budgetary allocations for the IIITs was just an instance of how the Government was least bothered about the rights of rural students. These IIITs were mired in debts to the tune of Rs. 180 crore because of lack of support from the Government.

Mr. Umamaheswara Rao asserted that it was during the TDP rule under the leadership of N. Chandrababu Naidu that the infrastructure and a good number of colleges were established to promote higher technical education in the State in a big way, which consequently enabled lakhs of students pursue studies staying in the State without going to other states.

The SFI activists took out the rally from their office to Raghavaiah Park, where they burnt the effigy. Krishna district secretary of the SFI Ch. Krishna said that reduction of seats was an indication of the Government's attitude towards the students.

He said that the IIITs were aimed at providing quality technical education to the bright students from below poverty line hailing from the rural areas. “It is unfair on the part of the Government to reduce the seats by claiming shortage of funds,” he said.

SFI city president M. Babu Rao wondered how the ministers belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accepted the decision even while knowing that it would affect the careers of students from these sections of the society. He demanded that at least 100 seats be allocated to the students from SC, ST and economically backward classes in the IIITs. The SFI would intensify its agitation till the Government took back its decision, he asserted.

Keywords: IIITeducation