No Minority Fellowships Since October, Researchers Cry Foul
In India, we have less than 1 lakh research scholars for a population of more than 1 billion people. While this number is already far too dismal for a developing country harbouring “Make in India”dreams, our system is making it even more difficult for its students to carry out research.
After non-NET fellowship (Fellowship given to students doing research without clearing UGC’s National Eligibility Test) being in news as University Grants Commission (UGC) tried to curb it last year, Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) is the next attempt to demoralize research scholars.
MANF for minority research scholars was started in 2009, following the recommendations of Sachchar Committee. For initial years, things went smooth, but students started facing problems after the government changed in the centre in 2004, say students.
What Abu says, Budget Outcome 2015-16 from the Ministry of Minority Affairs substantiates. In the year 2014-15, not only the total money awarded for the fellowship is reduced from 90 crore to 60 crore, but also the total money spent has come down to 0.09 crore.
Madam Minister, Stop Procrastinating
Minister of Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla tweeted on 17 August, 2015 that she is trying to solve the problem and that students should be patient. It means she was aware of the problem since August 2015.
But she couldn’t solve it. On 12 March, 2016, in a series of tweets boasting of the money pouring in for minorities and their educational empowerment, she mentioned MANF again.
MANF beneficiaries have been writing to the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA), to UGC and other concerned authorities. Recently, the issue was raised in Rajya Sabha too. But nothing concrete has come out of the exercise.
You have money, why aren’t students getting it?
The question is: Why is fellowship money not reaching students while MoMA has been boasting of its riches? Minister of minority affairs Ms Heptulla called Abu Saleh, a student raising voice against the issue, and told him that some technical problems (banking and transfer related) are are to blame for the delay. Really? What happened to the bank suddenly after the regime changed at the centre?
On the one hand the current government is talking about educational empowerment of minorities, about “Make in India”” and “Start up India”, while on the other hand research scholars are being denied their small monthly allowances.
Tell us Mr Prime Minister, can we afford to run our ambitious “Make in India” dreams piggyback on borrowed line of thought and technology or do we also have an action plan in our education system that churns out more than assembly-line products?
(Make sure you don't miss fresh news updates from us. Click here to stay updated )