Published: 20th October 2020
Actions of the government will discourage critical research, Tharoor writes to FM, condemning decision to defer research stipends
In a letter addressed to the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Shashi Tharoor criticises the decision to defer PhD and MTech stipends
Since the beginning of the lockdown, a lot of researchers in institutes across the country have been raising their voices against the untimely disbursal of their research stipends. Looks like there will be more delays and deferment in the disbursal of these stipends, suggests a letter by the Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
In his letter, Tharoor condemns a decision by the Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance to defer the PhD and MTech stipends disbursed by the Government of India. According to the letter which was written on October 3, the decision was during the 33rd meeting of the Finance Committee, keeping in mind the current economic situation of the country.
"While the state of the economy is concerning and deserves ample corrective measures, the decision to withhold critical financial assistance to our nation's scholars must be reconsidered. Such assistance is a key factor that enables these scholars to pursue research in their respective fields and by holding back on the distribution of these funds, the actions of the government will strongly discourage critical research work in our country," reads the letter. He has also sought a reconsideration of the decision and to disburse the grants to the scholars.
Previously, EdexLive has written about the delay in stipend disbursal, which has caused distress to scholars across the country. "None of us have received our stipends since January 2020. This is a really difficult situation," says Vishnu Prasad, a JNU researcher. "This decision by the government will affect students from backward sections the most. A lot of them have their livelihood dependant on it. This may cause them to drop out," he says.