The indefinite strike launched by the research students of the Kottayam-based Mahatma Gandhi University (MGU) was called off on Monday following a meeting between varsity authorities and the students' representatives.
The university agreed to provide a monthly fellowship of Rs 2,500 for MPhil students with retrospective effect from the academic year 2017-18. The administration will also bring in place a proportionate increase in fellowship for MPhil and PhD students in accordance with the hike in UGC and CSIR fellowships.
The indefinite strike was launched on January 10, under the combined leadership of the MGU units of the All Kerala Research Scholars Association (AKRSA) and Students Federation of India (SFI), demanding timely distribution of fellowships to the research scholars.
"MG University has received the Chancellor's Award for the best university in Kerala two times in a row. A NAAC team that recently visited had given it an A grade. But still, it's the treatment of researchers that is condemnable. It is the only varsity in Kerala which was not giving scholarships to MPhil students. We have been raising this issue with the authorities for over 5 months now but no action was taken. Hence we were forced to launch the indefinite strike on January 10," Arun KM, the district secretary of the SFI said.
Following the meeting, it was also decided to constitute a committee, consisting of the Vice-Chancellor and two members each from the syndicate and students’ wing, to study the issues related to the fellowship distribution. The meeting was attended by vice Chancellor in-charge Sabu Thomas, syndicate members R Pragash, A Jose and Tomichan Joseph.
"Last year the university selected 12 out of the 40 students pursuing PhD at the campus to offer fellowship. Even these students didn't receive any money on time. Payments are pending since the 2016-17 academic year," said Gopikrishna VG, state convenor of the AKRSA. Gopikrishna and Vijeesh V have been elected as the student's nominee to be a part of the five-member committee, which will meet in two weeks time to sort out the remaining issues.
It was the fifth time that the student's representatives and the University officials met as the first four talks failed to yield any solutions.