It has been four years and six months since the fellowship stipends for research scholars who have cleared NET and GATE examinations, was increased. As there is a provision for a stipend increment every four years, research scholars all over the country have holding protests against the delay.
However, now, we have learnt from sources in the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, that a 15 per cent increase in the fellowship stipends is in the offing. This would lead to the stipend of the Junior Research Fellow (JRF) increasing from Rs 25000 [plus House Rent Allowance (HRA)] to Rs 28750 (plus House Rent Allowance). Similarly the stipend of a Senior Research Fellow (SRF) would increase from Rs 28000 plus HRA to Rs 32000. These increments are to be announced and implemented this week.
Increment every four years
Research scholars claim that they have been forced to hold protests because they haven’t received a response from the government regarding the stipend increment. However this is not the first time such protests have been held. Thousands of scholars had protested in 2014, too.
This year, research scholars from institutions all over the country met at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, under the banner of All India Research Scholars, and condemned the government’s indifference and decided to submit a memorandum of demands to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the principal scientific advisor to the Government of India, Dr K. Vijay Raghavan. Lalchand Vishwakarma, president of the Society of Young Scientists, told FORWARD Press that he and fellow researchers had met Dr Harshvardhan, union minister for science and technology. Vishwakarma, a Phd scholar himself, said that the minister was in agreement about increasing the fund for fellowships but it hadn’t materialized. He said he had also been meeting the principal scientific advisor but all he had been getting were verbal assurances.
Be that as it may, this is what sources at the Ministry of Human Resource Development told us: “The decision to raise the stipend has been taken. So, the protests of the research scholars will come to an end.”
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