Non-NET fellowship hike: Researcher scholar association meets UGC, shares concerns

AIRSA met the UGC secretary at his office in New Delhi on Tuesday, July 18, highlighting issues like irregular disbursal of fellowship, no hike in non-NET fellowship and so on
Visuals from the meeting on Tuesday | Picture: Source
Visuals from the meeting on Tuesday | Picture: Source

The All India Research Scholars Association (AIRSA) held a meeting with the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Tuesday, July 18, highlighting the issues being faced by non-NET scholars.

AIRSA delegates met the UGC Secretary Manish R Joshi and UGC Deputy Director to discuss the ‘unjust stagnation’ in the non-NET fellowship which has remained unchanged at Rs 8,000 per month since it was last hiked in 2006. The researchers conveyed that delayed hike in research fellowships have led to financial burden on the researchers.

“How are research scholars getting only Rs 8,000 per month when the minimum wage for an unskilled labourer is also Rs 14,000? The UGC is aware about this grave issue and that it is being highlighted again and again every year by the researchers. They are choosing to be ignorant about it,” said Mandeep Singh, Vice-President, AIRSA.

While the research scholars did not get any positive response or assurance from the UGC about non-NET fellowship hike, the commission has said that it will further discuss the issues and suggestions made by AIRSA with the concerned ministry.

Other concerns

Along with the non-NET fellowship hike, the AIRSA put forward a number of additional demands and concerns to the UGC on Tuesday.

They stated that in addition to the financial challenges, the research scholars are also facing difficulties due to insufficient resources and infrastructure at research institutes, inadequate support from their supervisors, absence of grievance redressal committees and support mechanisms and irregular disbursal of their fellowships.

“UGC guidelines say that every institute should have these grievance redressal committees to ensure a safe space for the students, including committees for women's safety. But most institutes still do not have these committees. There is nobody to ensure that the UGC guidelines are being followed or not,” added Mandeep Singh.

Lastly, the researchers also added that they are not being provided with equal House Rent Allowance (HRA) and contingency funds. 

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