HYDERABAD: University Grants Commission’s (UGC) recent move to scrap non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship drew a sharp criticism from research scholars of Central universities. Opposing the UGC decision, M.Phil and PhD students of University of Hyderabad held a demonstration on the campus and burnt an effigy of the UGC on Wednesday.
The students said the withdrawal of non-NET fellowships would severely affect the research work of M.Phil and PhD scholars who are not qualified for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). Since the non-NET fellowships are the only major source of financial support, the students condemned the UGC move.
Under the non-NET fellowships, M.Phil and PhD students from all Central universities would get Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000 per month respectively for their research work. The amount would be given to PhD students for a period of four years, while M.Phil students would get it for 18 months. They would also receive a contingency amount per year for the research work.
Matta Srinivas, a PhD student from UoH said, “Majority of the scholars in Central universities are dependent on this fellowship as the number of JRF holders is usually very limited in all the departments. Very few students get qualified for the JRF every year. Since the university’s internal fellowship is also restricted only to post-graduate students, the scholars would be left with no financial support,’’ he added.
UGC chairman Ved Prakash has revealed that the UGC decided to do away with the fellowships from next academic year. Though the students from current academic year would continue to get the non-NET fellowship, the students who take admission from next academic year will not get it. The UGC took this decision as per the recommendations of a committee that was formed to examine the possibility of hiking the existing amount of fellowship.