Published: 04th April 2020
Research scholars in Kerala asked to donate a month's stipend to CM's Relief Fund as COVID-19 relief
The Fellowship Challenge has come up right after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reintroduced the salary challenge
A couple of days ago, the Kerala government reintroduced its famous salary challenge. Something that became popular when the state saw its worst floods in 2018, government officials were challenged to donate an entire month's salary to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund. Similarly, when the entire world is battling to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kerala government sought to raise Rs 2500 crore for its relief activities through this challenge.
Following the call, a lot of employees have come up accepting the challenge. But looks like they aren't the only ones who took it up. Now, the All Kerala Research Scholars' Association (AKRSA) has asked the PhD researchers from universities across the state, to donate a month's fellowship stipend to the relief fund, by accepting the Fellowship Challenge.
"The government funds our research using the taxpayers' money. So, as responsible citizens, we must do our bit to help the people in times of distress," says Manesh P, AKRSA Joint convenor. At the same time, Manesh admits that it is easier said than done. "Most of the researchers do not get their stipends on time. A lot of them get the amounts after a delay of 8-10 months. So, I am not sure how many of them will be able to contribute," says Manesh, who is a Malayalam researcher in Kerala University.
Stressing that there is no compulsion to donate, Manesh says, "The fellowships are funded by the government. Therefore, even if there is a delay, in the end, every scholar gets their stipend. However, if it is difficult for them, they do not have to contribute. It is completely up to them," he adds.