Published: 30th January 2019
Govt hands out 25% hike to researchers. Disappointed protestors decry the 'chillar' handed out
In contrast to the 80 per cent hike demanded by the scholars, the government has now hiked the fellowships by 24 per cent and 25 per cent for JRFs and SRFs respectively
After nine long months of the researchers' protest, the government has finally announced a hike in the research fellowship. While the scholars sought an 80 per cent hike in their stipend, according to a circular from the Department of Science and Technology, the hike is 24 per cent and 25 per cent for the Junior Research Fellows (JRF) and the Senior Research Fellows respectively.
While a JRF received a stipend of Rs 25,000 previously, they'll now receive Rs 31,000 and SRFs will receive Rs 35,000 instead of the previous Rs 28,000, says the circular dated January 30. However, there is no mention of the postdoctoral fellows. The revisions will be backdated and in effect from January 1, 2019.
On having a quick look at the previous increments in the stipends (years 1999, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2014), this is the lowest percentage of hike overall. The hikes were 60 per cent in 2006, 50 per cent in 2007, 33 per cent in 2010 and 56 per cent in 2014. The scholars all around the country expressed their disappointment in the hike, as they were demanding at least an 80 per cent hike.
"We are extremely unhappy about this. This is just chillar. If the government is facing a fund crunch, how can it give a 100 per cent hike to the MPs' salaries?" asks Nikhil Gupta, National Coordinator and Representative of Research Scholars of India. "We will now launch a mass protest against this. The scientific community will continue to protest against the possible implications of legislation on the fellowship hike," he says. The researchers had also demanded to make the hike implemented from April 2018, but the circular says that it is applicable only from January 1.
The researchers said that they were promised a good hike by the DST Secretary Ashutosh Sharma and HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar. Recently, when we posed the same question to Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science and Technology, he too said that the hikes will be satisfactory.