SC/ST scholars suffer as they are yet to receive fellowship

More than 150 research scholars in Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) who are eligible for monthly stipend under various government schemes have not received it for the past 11 months.

These candidates who have been selected for fellowship of national bodies such as University Grants Commission for pursuing M.Phil and Ph.D were left in the lurch even as academic year 2013-14 has come to a close.

MKU sources told The Hindu on Sunday that many research scholars belonging to SC/ST communities were also not given UGC’s Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship which was aimed at encouraging such scholars to pursue higher education.

The Non-NET Fellowship Scheme amount too was not disbursed in the MKU though the UGC allocated Rs.10 crore for the university. Information obtained by a research scholar under the Right to Information Act revealed that the university had been included in the list of institutions chosen for implementing Non-NET Fellowship Scheme.

Ph.D research scholar at the MKU A. Jeganathan said Rs.2.75 lakh was due to him as scholarship amount. “The authorities are not responding to our pleas. Junior Research Fellows and Senior Research Fellows are finding it tough to pursue their courses,” he lamented.

There are about 36 persons waiting for Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship which has to be disbursed every month.

Another research scholar, C. Pandiarajan of Chemistry Department, who has to get Rs.1.5 lakh, said many research scholars were suffering as the funds allotted under government schemes were not reaching them in time though they were eligible to receive a minimum of Rs.5,000 as scholarship a month.

“I got information from the UGC through an RTI query that our university has to implement Non-Net Fellowship Scheme. But there are no signs of that as yet,” he added.

According to Mr. Jeganathan, the Vice-Chancellor mentioned in last year’s convocation that fellowship schemes would be implemented, but still the research scholars were kept waiting.

There are 62 research scholars who are eligible for UGC-Junior Research Fellowship. There are others who have to get meritorious fellowships too.

S. Baskar, who is doing Ph.D. in Biology, lamented that he had to receive with arrears Rs.2 lakh as fellowship due to him since July last year.

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