Shashi Tharoor urges govt to hike stipend of non-NET research fellows

The MP raised the issue in the Lok Sabha during 'zero hour' and said that non-NET PhD research fellowship amounts have been same since 2006.

Shashi Tharoor demands increase in non-NET fellowship amount.Shashi Tharoor demands increase in non-NET fellowship amount.

Press Trust of India | December 7, 2023 | 03:53 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday urged the government to consider hiking significantly the stipend of non-NET research fellows, asserting that their contributions are pivotal in advancing the country's growth in research and development.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha during 'zero hour', the MP from Thiruvananthapuram also highlighted the plight of non-NET research fellows in terms of insufficient resources in their institutions, inadequate support from their supervisors and absence of grievance redressal committees. The government must address these and also ensure regular disbursements of stipend without delays, the former Union minister said.

"I want to call the attention of the Education Minister and the chairperson of the University Grants Commission towards the plight of the non-NET PhD research fellows concerning the stipend they have received. "These are scholars that do not get scholarships through the UGC-NET exam, however, the researchers get a stipend of Rs 8,000 per month and a contingency of Rs 10,000 per annum for science subjects and Rs 8,000 per annum for humanities, social science subjects which has remained the same since 2006," he said. Unlike the other fellowship programmes, the stipend is yet to be subject to revision, he noted. "Normally revision takes place every four years, normally there should have been four upward revisions in the fellowship amounts they have been getting," he said.

Stressing that the UGC is responsible for ensuring conducive environment for scholars to conduct research, Tharoor said delayed revisions have imposed a financial burden due to the rise in inflation which has impacted their daily lives and their commitment to doing meaningful and impactful research. "Money is only part of the problem, they are also facing problems due to the insufficient resources in their institutions such as infrastructure, inadequate support from their supervisors, absence of grievance redressal committees. The government must address these and also ensure regular disbursements of stipend without delays," Tharoor said.

"I urge the minister to to consider hiking significantly the stipend amount of non-NET fellows as their contributions are pivotal in advancing our nations growth in research and development," he said. Meanwhile, JD(U)'s Mahabali Singh raised the issue of justice to investors in the Sahara Group who have not got their money back. "Thousands have committed suicide as they could not get back the money which they had set aside for things such as the wedding of their daughters and medical treatment. Despite this Sahara conglomerate has not returned their money," he said.

"Maximum investors are from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. I request the government to ensure justice for the investors," he said. Speaking during the zero hour, Revolutionary Socialist Party MP N K Premchandran urged the government to come up with a bill ensuring minimum allowance to the anganwadi workers and helpers, medical benefits and a pension on their retirement.

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