The Union Science & Technology Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan on January 30, 2019 announced hike in the fellowship of research scholars and associates with effect from January 1, 2019.
The hike will be applicable for of Ph.D students and other research personnel enrolled in any area of science and technology, including physical and chemical sciences, engineering, mathematical sciences, agricultural sciences, life sciences, pharmacy, etc.
Key highlights of hike in Research Fellowship
• The hike in fellowship will directly benefit over 60000 research fellows and also provide a template to the States to consider increase in their fellowship rates.
• The Fellowship of the Junior Research Fellows in the first two years of Ph.D programme has been increased from Rs 25,000 to Rs 31,000 per month.
• For the remaining tenure of Ph.D, Senior Research Fellow will get Rs 35,000 per month instead of the present Rs 28,000 per month.
• There is substantial 30 to 35 percent increase in the financial rewards for the scientists involved in the Research and Development (R&D) projects as Research Associates.
• The top bracket of Research Associateship is fixed at Rs 54,000.
• All the research fellows will also be entitled to House Rent Allowance (HRA) as per Central Government norms.
What led Government to announce hike in Research Fellowship?
The decision regarding the hike in Research Fellowship came after a series of protests by researchers from leading institutes like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratories, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
These researchers had been demanding a hike of at least 80 percent in their stipend. On the other hand, the guest teachers at universities have also been demanding a pay hike lately.
Recommendations of Empowered Inter-Ministerial Committee
• The Union Government constituted an Empowered Inter-Ministerial Committee to periodically examine all the fellowship matters that impact the value, quality and experience of doctoral research, including the quantum of fellowship.
• The committee recommended a set of strong financial and academic incentives to enhance the performance of our research fellows. This will be a performance based addition to the fellowship.
• One of the recommendations is to involve Ph.D students in undergraduate teaching and managing research infrastructure during their doctoral research. This will widen their scope of training and enhance their career prospects.