DST's fellowship hike not accepted, says AIRSA; demands reconsideration

The association has held several protests and Twitter campaigns in these months at many premier research institutes in India like IITs, NITs, IISER, CSIR and so on
Read details here | (Photo: Edex Live)
Read details here | (Photo: Edex Live)

The announcement of the research fellowship hike made by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) today, June 22, has not received a favourable response from the research community.

The All India Research Scholars Association (AIRSA) said that the fellowship hike is insufficient and has demanded that the DST reconsider it.

Dr Lal Chandra Vishwakarma, President, AIRSA said that the association will be drafting a letter to the DST demanding another meeting in order to discuss the matter.

"We do not accept this hike. The DST and the Government of India are playing games with the research scholars and this hike amount is nothing but a joke. If the DST does not meet us, we will have to launch a protest in front of their office," expressed Dr Vishwakarma.

The researchers had demanded a hike of at least 60 per cent calculated as per the rate of inflation as well as increasing tuition fees plus the cost of living in the cities where the premier research institutes are located.

Meghraj Chavhan, General Secretary, AIRSA, told EdexLive, "Not even a single scholar is satisfied with the 20 per cent hike. We demanded 60 per cent and compared to that, 20 per cent is very less. It's a pity."

The association had, in the past, also highlighted that the fellowship for non-NET researchers has stayed stagnant for decades at Rs 8,000 per month. While there has been no update about non-NET fellowships in the newly revised fellowship structure, AIRSA said that they will be following up with the University Grants Commission (UGC) about the status of fellowship hikes for non-NET scholars.
 

What happened so far?
For over 10 months, AIRSA has been fighting against insufficient and irregular fellowships for research scholars across India.

The association has held several protests and Twitter campaigns in these months at many premier research institutes in India like IITs, NITs, IISER, CSIR and so on.

The primary demands of the association include a hike of at least 60 per cent, a timely hike in research fellowships every four years, regular disbursement of fellowships every month and a hike for non-NET fellowships.

The association also met the DST Secretary, Dr Srivari Chandrasekhar, on June 1 to share these demands. The DST had assured that an update will be given within three weeks.

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