The Department of Science and Technology (DST) on Wednesday (30 January) announced a hike in stipends for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF), Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) and Research Associates (RA) engaged in basic science research, reports Times Of India (TOI).
While the stipend for JRF has been increased by twenty per cent, from Rs 25,000 to Rs. 31,000, it has been hiked from Rs 28,000 to Rs. 35,000 for SRFs. Also, as per revised rules, RAs will receive anywhere between Rs. 47,000-Rs. 54,000 per month. Research stipends have been increased every four years in the past, in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
“The revised emoluments will take effect from 1 January. Respective departments should meet the additional expense from their existing budget through matching savings in other schemes. At the time of main budget for 2019-2020, this may be reviewed," a government statement added.
An Inter-Ministerial Empowered Committee has also been set up to regularly examine the disbursement and quantum of all fellowships.
However, some researchers are unhappy with the proposed increase in stipends and claim that demands regarding DA, HRA, bonus, retirement benefits are still pending.
“We will not accept stipend increase less than 80 per cent. If we look at previous four-year hikes, the amount was an average 50 per cent. When we had discussions with the DST Secretary, we were assured of a similar hike but they haven’t fulfilled their promise,” said Nikhil Gupta, coordinator of research scholars of India, CBMR SGPGI, Lucknow told Indian Express.
Some have announced that they will protest against the move and hold a hunger strike in the coming days.
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