NEW DELHI/BANGALORE: The central government on Tuesday hiked by nearly 50 per cent the fellowship stipend for various categories of young research scientists. The hike is effective from October 1.
The move will benefit around one lakh researchers across the country and result in an additional burden of Rs 750 crore to the Centre.
Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh said, “This is the biggest-ever hike, ranging from Rs 9,000 to Rs 15,000 under various categories. The last revision was done in 2010 and was somewhere around Rs 4,000. Now we have decided to regularly revise their pay scales so that they don’t have to sit in protests.”
Besides, a web-based fellowship assessment and disbursement mechanism will be put in place so that delays in disbursement of amount can be avoided.
A junior research fellow will get Rs 25,000 per month, a jump of Rs 9,000, while a senior research fellow will get Rs 28,000 per month, a hike of Rs 10,000. For a research associate (I), the monthly stipend will go up from Rs 22,000 to Rs 36,000, for a research associate (II) from Rs 23,000 to Rs 38,000 and for a research associate (III) from Rs 24,000 to Rs 40,000. In addition, other benefits and allowances will also be available.
Pankaj, the secretary of academic affairs in the student council at IISc, said, “After 2007, the next hike was announced in 2010. But after that, we had to wait for four years. This irregularity can be a deterrent to those wanting to pursue their PhD.”
Researcher Snehal, reiterating Pankaj’s view, says many were expecting a 70 or 80 per cent hike and were slightly disappointed. He added, “We have been making recommendations to the ministry from July and are happy that a decision has been taken. But the hike is not what we expected. We intend to talk to the officials again.”
Researchers complained that the hike is effective only from this month, and so those completing their projects in the next two or three months will gain little. “We had requested that the hike be implemented from April 2014, so that those finishing their projects in the next few months can also benefit,” says Pankaj, who is pursuing his PhD in molecular biophysics.
On the other hand, Sunil Bhardwaj, who is in the fifth year of his research in fluid mechanics, says he and his colleagues at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research are quite pleased with the announcement.