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Hike fellowship: The reason why researchers are in protest mode

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Poonam Kumari | New Delhi

This has been a long road for research scholars in India. They have been continuously demanding hike in their fellowship amount from past several months now. According to government’s rule the fellowship amount is supposed to be increased by 20 per cent every year which hasn’t been done in last 4 years.

Unable to meet their financial needs hampers the researchers in many ways and some are in the verge of leaving their research to get jobs. SRF, JRF and other fellowships are the only source of finance but since it hasn’t been increased in past four years researchers decided to convey it to respective people. Since last few months they have been to several government offices and met many officials and ministers. They have even sent written and e-mail applications but no step has been taken yet to address the problem.

The scholars have given deadline thrice to increase their fellowship amount but received no reaction from the government. 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 deadlines given were mid October 2018, 31st December 2018 and then 11th January 2018. On 3rd January the researchers held a meeting and received a tweet from government on 4th January that the fellowship amount will be increased within a week i.e. by 11 January. The researchers said if the amount is not increased by 15th January they will protest on 16th January in front of MHRD.

These are the main demands of research scholars:

1.  JRF, SRF, PhD students’ fellowship amount shoulnd be increased by 80%, as amount should be increased 20% every year.

2. The fellowship amount should reach on time. Now the amount comes in three or six and sometimes in eight months.

3. Government must make guidelines under pay commission to ensure that researcher get their fellowship amount every month on time.