'For Us PhD Scholars, Having No Stipend Means No Money To Pay Rent or Buy Books'
It’s been 7-8 months since we received our fellowship. Mine stopped coming just as I was submitting my thesis.
Producer: Varsha Rani
Video Editor: Rajbir Singh
I am a research scholar from Assam and I avail the Maulana Azad National Fellowship, which is funded by the Ministry of Minority Affairs. PhD scholars like me, who are working under the same fellowship, have not received their stipend for the last few months.
For some of us, it's been seven to eight months since we received our fellowship. My fellowship stopped coming while I was submitting my thesis. The whole process of preparing the thesis requires a lot of funds, and I had to ask my father, who is living on his pension, for money.
PhD students are usually in the age group of 25-35; we dare to do PhD because there are schemes like this to fund our research. We cannot ask for money from our parents at this age. When there is an abrupt halt in the stipend, it gets very difficult.
Not just me, there are around 4,000 research scholars around the country who are going through the same situation.
"We are suffering because of this delay. We want to convey to the ministry that our research is at stake, and if we don't get this fellowship on time, it will impact us in various ways. We are unable to accommodate ourselves properly because we have rent to pay. We are not able to buy books for our research. We are not able to do fieldwork."Zeeshan Ahmed Sheikh, Research Scholar
Maria Khan, a research scholar from Uttar Pradesh, has not received her stipend since December 2021. Speaking about the same, she also mentioned how financially taxing this situation has turned out to be for her.
"We are told that our fellowship will be disbursed soon. We're living away from home and there are so many things we have to deal with concerning expenses, especially if you are a candidate who must do field research and fieldwork or take up field visits with respect to your research. You will have to visit those places and spend money. This has been happening for months now."Maria Khan, Reseach Scholar
We have tried contacting the UGC and the ministry but we are being tossed between the two parties without any positive response.
"In the last six months, we've tried contacting the UGC over calls, emails, etc. We've tried contacting the Ministry of Minority Affairs as well. Candidates even went to their offices. We are frustrated. We're unable to do our research properly because of this."Haroon Rashid, Research Scholar
Some students are on the verge of quitting their PhD because they are not getting fellowships. I request the authorities to kindly look into the matter and disburse our fellowship amounts as soon as they can.
The Quint has reached out to the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Minority Affairs, and their response is awaited.
(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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