#Strike4Hike: Research Scholars Get Lowest Hike Since 2006, Stipend Increased By Just 24%
Sromona Bhattacharyya India
January 30th, 2019 / 6:04 PM
After months of protests, the Ministry of Science and Technology has officially announced a hike in research fellowship of Junior Research Fellows (JRFs) and Senior Research Fellows (SRFs).
Good News from @IndiaDST /Govt of India! Revised fellowship order issued today @PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @PrinSciAdvGoI @Ashutos61 @DBTIndia @moesgoi, @FinMinIndia @MoHFW_INDIA @NITIAayog @HRDMinistry @DRDO_India @ministryofspace @isro @GoI_MeitY @moefcc https://t.co/o62ngGDGhW https://t.co/CeF1mVz3Vk
— DSTIndia (@IndiaDST) January 30, 2019
Research Scholars Get 24% Hike
However, the percentage hike has just been a mere 24% as the JRFs are now entitled to Rs.31,000 per month while the SRFs are entitled to Rs.35,000. Meanwhile, the stipends for the Research Assistants would range from Rs 47,000 to Rs 54,000 per month.
According to the communiqué, the new stipend would come into effect from January 2019 onwards and the last such hike was in 2014. While there are around 1.25 lakh research scholars across the country who are beneficiaries of the government stipulated stipend, in terms of percentage hike, this is the lowest since 2006, said Omkar Venkata, a research associate at IIT Kharagpur in a tweet. Even in 2014, the research scholars received a 56% hike in scholarship which pushed the stipend amount to Rs Rs.25,000 and Rs 28,000 respectively.
Scholars are unhappy
However, for months, research scholars of several prestigious institutes have been protesting across the country, demanding an 80% hike in their stipend amount. Talking to The Logical Indian, Nikhil Gupta, National Representative and Coordinator of Research Scholars of India said, “While they did increase the stipend amount, we do not accept it and we will continue with the protests until our demands are met with.”
33% ( 2010)
56% ( 2014)
24% in 2019
Where is the direction ?
What government wants to prove ?#GovtDissappointedScholars
— Omkar (@aerosomie) January 30, 2019
He alleged that when the protesting researchers had med with Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology in December 2018, he had assured that the percentage hike will be the same as last time, i.e, either 56% or a Rs 9,000 hike.
According to The Hindu, Sharma said that the hikes were recommended based on inflation and that from next year on, there would be a system in place which would allow stipend hikes annually, instead of every four years.
Research scholars have been protesting for 80% hike
Around 2000 research scholars from different institutes across the country had gathered at the Shastri Bhavan on January 16, demanding an immediate hike in their stipend. The peaceful protests saw the participation of researchers from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).
Dear govt, we are unable to focus on research while waiting with your promises. This only lags India science development.
Announce hike. #hikeresearchfellowship #HikeResearchFelllowship #nolessthan80 @IndiaDST @HRDMinistry @Ashutos61 @BBCScienceNews pic.twitter.com/qa8p6KfvAi
— Omkar (@aerosomie) January 23, 2019
A Facebook public group, “Hike in Research Fellowship 2018” was created with the aim of mobilising thousands of scholars from all over the country. The evergrowing community now has over 40,000 members who share similar emotions, sentiments and cause. The Logical Indian spoke to a few research scholars from different institutes to help understand their woes better.
Talking about the plight of research scholars in India, Jayeeta Chakraborty, a JRF while speaking to The Logical Indian said that most of the research scholars in India reach that position after finishing years of gruelling education which require a lot of money in the first place! “Many research scholars are married or even have a family to look after and with such low stipend, this becomes difficult.”
Written by : Sromona Bhattacharyya
Edited by : Poorbita Bagchi