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‘8K Stipend is Not Enough For Non-NET Research Scholarship'

Introduced in 2006 at Rs 5,000/month, the fellowship was raised to 8000/month in 2012 and remains unchanged .

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My Report
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It’s frustrating when you want to conduct good research to help our education system and take our country forward, but we cannot. The main reason is that our monthly stipend is only Rs 8,000.

In this amount, do you expect us, non-NET research scholars, to conduct our research and manage accommodation, travel, and food comfortably?

It’s not possible! As a fellowship from the University Grants Commission (UGC) to carry out our research, it’s a struggle to survive.

I am doing a PhD in Nanotechnology. When we have to do some characterisations (tests) outside the university, we bear the cost. The cost of characterisations varies from Rs 1,000 to Rs 4,000. It is pretty expensive. So, if we have eight characterisations to do in a month, all our stipend will be spent on the characterisations for just one paper.

Scholars Drop Research Topics Due to Lack of Funds

Ranvijay, PhD Scholar, JNU, told me he had to drop his research on Anand Math because he had no money to travel to Kolkata. “We decide on our research topics based on the amount of money we have. If we have sufficient funds, we can research more broadly. Since we don't have enough money, we research using the available resources. My research was on Anand Math.  I needed the first edition book, which wasn't available here. My guide told me to visit Kolkata, where I could find the first edition of the book in the library there. However, I didn't have the money to visit Kolkata, so I had to drop this research topic.

Introduced in 2006 at Rs 5,000/month, the fellowship was raised to 8000/month in 2012 and remains unchanged by the UGC.

Tougher For Women Scholars

It’s difficult for researchers, but it’s tougher for women researchers. My colleague, Kajal Gupta, PhD Scholar at JNU, told me many women enroll in research but drop out later.

“If the amount were more substantial, women would enroll, considering financial stability. Therefore, for women and students, there is a downside to the meagre fellowship amount.”

Tuba Fatima, PhD Scholar, JMI echos the same sentiments. “If the government expects increased participation of women, they must provide them with financial support. With such financial stress, it's difficult for them  to concentrate on their project work.”

Along with me, others feel that the government should take care of the researchers.

“Only a few people in this country take up research. If they don't get enough support to conduct research, I don't think quality research will happen in this country,” says Ranvijay.

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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