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Research Scholars from IIT, AIIMS, DRDO, IISER, DU, JNU take to street demanding fellowship hike; no announcement from govt

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GR News Desk | New Delhi

Amid the growing clamour over the continuous delay in revision of fellowship, research scholars from several leading institutions including the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) held a nationwide protest demanding hike in stipend. The demonstrations were held in campuses and in front of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in New Delhi.

Students from prominent institutions like IISc Bangalore, IISER, IITs, AIIMS, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS) expressed their discontent with the government’s lack of response on the issue.

The research fellows also released a charter of demands, which asks for the revision of the current fellowship from Rs. 12,400 to Rs. 23,500 for Masters (M.Tech./M.Phil./M.Des.), Rs. 45,000 for Junior Research Fellows/TA, Rs. 52,000 for Senior Research Fellows (SRF), Rs. 65,000 for Research Associates. The government has been revising the fellowship structure every three to four years. However, in over four years of PM Narendra Modi’s government there has been no announcement so far.

National representative and Coordinator of All India Research Scholars, Alumnus of IIT Madras Nikhil Gupta said, “For the past several days, as per the rules, we have been demanding for the fellowship hike but no concrete result has been received so far. This has compelled to protest.”

Ashutosh Sharma, secretary of the Department of Science and Technology shared several comments on December 16 on the social media platform Twitter: “I am happy to share that the process to be followed for the Fellowship hike is fully on track and nearing its end. All the fellowship granting agencies have been brought on board so that the outcomes are applicable to the entire student community and not fragmented. In view of this, please consider not to take any hasty decision or action. This will help to take the process to its conclusion rapidly.”

Gupta, however claimed, “We have been receiving false promises for months. We don’t want tweets, but official written information.”

Meanwhile, the protesting scholars have threatened to go on hunger strike if their demands aren’t met with an appropriate response.