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Magdhi Diksha|May 29, 2023
NEW DELHI: Research scholars at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras organised a protest on Sunday demanding hike in fellowship. “The protest comes in the backdrop of a larger movement by research scholars all across the country demanding a similar increase in stipends,” said a social media post of Chintabar, a student collective at IIT Madras.
The social media post stated that the last hike in research fellowships happened in 2019 with a meagre increase of 24%. However, current inflation has left research scholars cash-strapped once again. A student who attended the protest said in the post: “Research itself is an uncertain process but having to do it while being cash strapped and being expected to provide for family makes our lives miserable.”
The Department of Science and Technology on May 9 had responded to the plea of the scholars over a social media post stating, “The issue of the fellowship hike is top of our priority. DST and other departments are already working on it. We appeal to students to have patience. The issue will be resolved soon.”
Similar protests were organised by research scholars at IIT Delhi on May 10 with several scholars demanding an increase in fellowship grants for PhD scholars. “Education is a right, not a privilege,” said a social media post of All India Research Scholars Association (AIRSA). IIT Palakkad students also organised a protest recently on the issue.
In August 2022, AIRSA had written to DST demanding a hike in fellowship for research scholars. But there has been no response to that yet.
A statement from a student in the post said: “We demand 80-100% hike that was asked for way back in 2019. We also demand the same for all such stipends whether M Tech or PhD. We also ask the administration to refrain from any further hike in fee until this issue is resolved.”
The social media post also mentioned that the Union government has also slashed the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) grant for minorities across state universities.
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