Fellowship hike will be announced today or tomorrow: VijayRaghavan

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Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India confirmed in an email to me that fellowship hike will be announced today or tomorrow. The Finance Ministry has already passed the order based on the recommendation by DST. DST and finance Ministry will announce levels of hike.

Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India in an email to me confirmed that fellowship hike will be announced today or tomorrow. The Finance Ministry has already passed the order based on the recommendation by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

“DST and finance Ministry will announce levels of hike [today or tomorrow],” Prof. VijayRaghavan says.

Prof. Vijayaraghavan who was delivering the foundation day lecture at IIT Delhi yesterday had met Vickey Nandal, National Representative of fellowship hike movement & PhD Students Council member of IIT Delhi and other researcher scholars and assured that the fellowship hike announcement will be made in a day or two.

On January 17, 2019, Prof. VijayRaghavan had told me that DST had meetings of all science funding agencies and conveyed its recommendation to the Finance Ministry. And the Finance Ministry, which takes a decision on this, had already done so. “The official order is now awaited,” he had said.

Prof. VijayRaghavan also said: “DST will review the [fellowship] situation on a yearly basis. This will allow steady and calibrated changes and any rationalisation as necessary.”

“As far as DST is concerned everything has been done from our side. We even brought all the stakeholders (funding agencies) on board so the outcome is applicable to all research scholars. From our end nothing is pending. The Finance Ministry is now looking at it. My hope is it will be officially notified as soon as possible,” Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST had told me on January 17.

For the last six months, research scholars from across the country have been demanding 80% hike in their fellowship and regular disbursal of fellowship. Representatives had met Prof. Sharma and Prof. VijayRaghavan in end October and November 2018 respectively. They had also met Minister for Science & Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar in end December.

Currently, junior research fellows (JRFs) get Rs.25,000 per month while senior research fellows (SRFs) get Rs.28,000 per month. The last revision in fellowship was in October 2014. There are nearly one lakh PhD scholars in India.

Prof. Sharma did say that there were procedural issues in releasing the fellowship on time and this “will be sorted out soon”. “We want to strengthen the process for timely release of scholarship,” Prof. Sharma had said.

“DST is coordinating a mechanism to ensure speedy and regular release of fellowship. Glitches can come from issues at any of the steps in the pathways and a mechanism to monitor and correct is being put in place by DST,” Prof. VijayRaghavan had said.

Published in The Hindu on January 29, 2019

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