The Narendra Modi government has decided to stop funding university research centres that study social discrimination, Dalit exclusion, BR Ambedkar's philosophies, etc by the end of the month, reported The Telegraph. These centres, funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC), were started under the 11th five-year plan (2007-2012).
Ironically, Prime Minister Modi has announced fresh Dalit outreach plans at the same time. He has planned week-long celebrations around Ambedkar's birth anniversary, reported The Times of India, and will reportedly introduce a new coin in the Dalit leader's memory. This is immediately after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a thumping majority in the recently-concluded assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
"It's ironic that these centres... are being closed down when the UGC (the higher education regulator) is funding courses on Vedic studies," N. Sukumar, who is an Ambedkar scholar and teaches political science in Delhi University, told The Telegraph.
As per UGC order, the decision to stop funding these centres came after a directive from the ministry of human resource and development. The current HRD minister is Prakash Javadekar. There are 35 such centres in various state and central universities, according to the report.
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