HRD Minister Smriti Irani came out for a brief interaction with the students and reiterated the government's stand that the fellowships will not be discontinued and the recently constituted five-member panel will review the scope and criteria for the grant.

However, the students demanded that the committee be dissolved if the there is no move to scrap the fellowships. "We have been protesting since 17 days. If the government says that the fellowships have not been discontinued then why do they need to review the decision? We demand the panel be dissolved," Shehla Rashid, Vice President JNU Students' Union said.
The students were led by Swaraj Abhiyan leader and former UGC member Yogendra Yadav in the protest march. Yadav, who was the commission's member when the committee was formed to broaden the scope of the non-NET fellowships, has earlier also come out in support of the agitating students and had spent one night at the protest venue.
UGC had resolved to discontinue the scheme of non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship, which is provided to those undertaking research in central universities across India, in a meeting held on October 7, citing shortage of resources.
Amidst protests by the students against the scrapping of the non-NET fellowship, the government had last week appointed a five-member panel to review the research grants offered by UGC, which, meanwhile, has been asked to continue all existing grants.

The 'Occupy UGC' movement has also spread to other parts of the country with students holding similar agitations in Kolkata, Pune, Allahabad, Madurai, Hyderabad and Varanasi.

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