Published: 31st January 2019
Javadekar calls hike gift from Modi, Researchers call it blatant insult: Reactions to 25 per cent stipend hike
The researchers across the country are now planning to send statements of disappointment to the Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Human Resource Development
After months of protest and wait, the Department of Science and Technology finally announced the hike in the research fellowship on Wednesday. But much to the dismay of the protesting research scholars, who demanded an 80 per cent hike, the increment was around 25 per cent, making it the lowest percentage of the hike since 1999.
According to the recent increment, Junior Research Fellows will now receive Rs 31,000 instead of Rs 25,000 and Senior Research Fellows will receive Rs 35,000 instead of the old Rs 28,000. While the researchers call this hike to be inadequate and unjust, they also observe that the House Rent Allowance remains unchanged in the new Office Memorandum (OM).
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar sees the hike as a 'major gift' to the researchers by the Narendra Modi government. "This hike is happening back to back. In 2015, the government increased the fellowship by 56 per cent and now in 2019 by 25 per cent, which translates into an increase of nearly 100 per cent of the fellowship amount that was being paid in 2014. The decision to hike fellowship amount shows that the Modi government cares for researchers and innovators [sic]," he tweeted on January 30.
The decision to hike fellowship amount shows that the @narendramodi govt’s care for researchers and innovators.#Research #TransformingIndia #sabkasathsabkavikas @PIB_India @MIB_India @HRDMinistry @IndiaDST— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) January 30, 2019
Disappointed at the Office Memorandum that announced the hike, the researchers are now planning to submit statements of disappointment to the Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Human Resource Development, demanding the departments to revamp the OM. "We are collecting the letters from the researchers in all research institutes in the country. We have already sent an email to the ministries expressing our disappointment, but there is no response to our emails," says Vickey Nandal, National Representative of Fellowship hike movement and Students Council member of IIT Delhi.
The OM also doesn't mention anything about MTech students' fellowship. The council is also planning to talk to the ministries about the same. "There had been many false promises regarding our issue but at the end of the day what we receive is just a consolation prize. This OM proves that it is highly unlikely that the Ministry of Science and Technology has even glanced at our demands," Vickey says, adding, "The research scholars did everything except begging the government and apparently the government has treated us like beggars of the economy."