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Why do you reject scholars’ research proposals? Govt says: can’t tell you, security a

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This is strange. As a layman none of the research topics look like affecting "natiuonal security" !


NEW DELHI, APRIL 8 : The Government doesn’t want to explain why and how it decides to reject a research proposal by a foreign scholar.


Responding to an application filed under the Right to Information Act by The Indian Express — which first exposed how the Government is not only delaying clearances to US research scholars but also forcing some of them to change their subjects — the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry refused to part with any information.


Its response, signed by director Anupama Bhatnagar, cited the following as reasons: that this correspondent is “not an affected person” and that giving this information “would affect national security.”

“...Due to its sensitive nature,” she replied, “disclosure of the information sought by you would prejudicially affect the security of India and its strategic/economic interests and might have adverse implications on our relations with foreign states.”

The Home Ministry was a little more open.

It did list the nine research proposals of US Fulbright scholars that the Government rejected “after due consideration of the sensitivity of the research proposals.”

On the subject of why and how, the Home Ministry, too, declined to give any information other than saying: “(They were declined) after due consideration of the sensitivity of the research proposals.”

These are the “sensitive” proposals:

Prospects and problems of outsourcing for India’s economic growth

Is tourism a win-win for local livelihoods and forest eco-systems in the Central highlands of India

The Imaginary Princess: A Muslim girl’s story

Language ideologies in Mumbai schools

India’s energy security

Women’s struggle for empowerment

Democratization in Kerala

Political Empowerment and Biodiversity in Kerala

Politics of land privatisation and access in Delhi.

The Indian Express had highlighted the problem of granting visas to the Fulbright scholars in February this year, where delays ranged between 5 to 21 months. In some cases, the research proposals were rejected and a fresh topic was granted approval. The Government then decided to put a “red channel” and “green channel” in place but no decision has been taken yet.

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