COIMBATORE: Faced with fund crunch following the recent hike of scholarship and fellowship grant, the University Grants Commission (UGC), the apex body which provides funding to colleges and universities across the country, has urged the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to form an inter-ministerial standing committee to decide on fellowship hike.
According to sources, UGC chairman Ved Prakash had raised this issue during a recent meeting of the commission. Consequent to the hike in scholarship grant, the UGC has incurred an expenditure of about `1,083 crore on scholarships and fellowships alone which would adversely affect other schemes unless additional resources are made available, he explained.
An expert committee of the UGC had increased the amount of fellowship under 15 schemes, including, emeritus fellowship, JRF and SRF, by 55 per cent, which came into effect from December 2014. A senior member of the commission told Express, “There is 20 per cent cut in the funding which UGC receives from the Centre. In contrary to this, the commission is facing increased expenditure due to inflation.”
The MHRD Secretary has assured that additional grants will be provided so that other schemes do not suffer, the member added. The state of affairs is so bad that the commission has decided against the proposal to hike the fellowship amount for Major and Minor Research Projects (MRP) and Special Assistance Programmes (SAP), on par with the Basic Scientific Research (BSR) and other schemes of the UGC, due to the precarious financial situation.