Researchers demanding a hike in their stipend were forced into buses and arrested by the Delhi Police for refusing to leave the Human Resource and Development (HRD) Ministry premises yesterday (16 January), reports Indian Express..
Over 700 researchers had assembled outside the Ministry to seek an increase in stipends and faster disbursal of research funds.
According to Vickey Nandal, a doctoral student at IIT-Delhi, who spoke to The Hindu, the protesters numbered over two thousand including researcher scholars from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR). Police authorities began making the arrests and nearly seven hundred of them were detained until 4 PM.
The researches are demanding for an increase in monthly research stipend, from the current Rs 25,000 for a junior research fellow (JRF) to Rs 50,000 and from Rs 28,000 to Rs 56,000 for senior research fellows (SRF) fellows. Apart from these hikes, they have also asked annual inflation-based increments and quicker allocation of research funds.
“Is there anybody in the government who can explain how a research scholar will be able to run his/her family and fulfil even the basic necessities of a family with such a small amount,” asked a memorandum submitted by the students to the government.
The HRD Ministry had earlier assured the researchers that it would consider their demands after a day-long protest in December 2018. Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, K VijayRaghavan had even tweeted that hikes would be announced soon.
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