The wait is finally over. The months-long protest has finally reaped ‘fruits’. The anticipations of the research scholar community can now sleep in peace. The government has increased their stipend by 24%, which is the least increment in since 2010. Adding salt to the wounds, Department of Science and Technology is also considering to reduce the number of fellowships in the future.
According to the new revision, the Junior Research Fellow (JRF) will get Rs 31,000 and Senior Research Fellow (SRF) will get Rs 35,000 as their monthly stipend which will come to effect from January 2019 onwards. After the last fellowship hike that took place in 2014, a JRF fellow gets Rs 25,000 and SRF fellow gets Rs 28,000 as a monthly stipend. There used to be an unofficial hike in stipend after every 4 years. Among those hikes, this is the least in terms of percentage.
The researchers across the nation united for the cause. 2000 even got arrested while protesting in front of MHRD. They went for hunger strikes, candle marches, etc. Their demand was a hike of at least 80% and payment without delays. Even after the hike, researchers protested in front of MHRD on 30th January. 700 were detained by the police.
The pathetic state of research in India needs no introduction. India spends less than 1 percent of its GDP on research and development. The scientists, each year organize rallies for increasing that figure to 3% of the GDP. But, it is of no use. The Government keeps patting its back over the achievements of ISRO, BARC, IITs, and IISc. But when it comes to funding and supporting them, they vanish in the thin air and announce such ‘chillar’ increment (term used by the researchers to describe the move).
Role of research in any country’s development is crucial. Decades of research on materials and basic science takes the foundation for the new technology. These new technologies make help the countries to progress with their utilization in their respective industries. The Ph.D. degree is the gateway of the academic career and research. They are the future lecturers and researchers. Supporting them means supporting the nation. Many researchers opt to go abroad for research as they know that India is not the ideal place for their talent and brain. The government is just proving their point.