India

PMO intervenes; Maulana Azad fellows get scholarships after delay

After a direction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office, M. Phil and Ph.D. research scholars who were availing the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF), have started getting their scholarships after a delay of more than nine months.

Similarly, thousands of scholars under the National Fellowship for Persons with Disabilities (NFPwD), National Fellowship for Scheduled Caste (NFSC) and National Fellowship for Other Backward Classes (NFOFC) who had not received their fellowships since April would also get the scholarship within a week, according to government officials.

The scholars getting MANF told The Hindu that they received the amount on Thursday. The Hindu had reported about the plight of the researchers and the intervention of the PMO in solving the dispute between the Minorities Affairs Ministry, the Social Justice Ministry and the Union Grants Commission (UGC) on the disbursal of the scholarships. The UGC will remain as a nodal agency till September 30.

The delay started after a change in rules by the Finance Ministry that the Ministries that fund these fellowships should appoint a Central Nodal Agency or directly transfer the funds into the beneficiaries’ accounts replacing the UGC.

Fellowship “within a week”

The secretary of the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment under the SJE Ministry, R. Subrahmanyam, said on Thursday that the process to disburse the pending fellowships under the National Fellowship for Scheduled Caste (NFSC) and National Fellowship for Other Backward Classes (NFOBC) had begun and all the scholars under the schemes would receive the fellowships “within a week”.

A scholar selected for the National Fellowship for Persons with Disabilities in 2020-2021, of the Department of Empowerment of PwD under the SJE Ministry, said that they and another scholar had received partial payments of the pending amount. However, it was not clear whether all scholars of the batch and of other batches had also received the fellowships.

“Worried about future of the scholarship”

Ishfaq Majid, a researcher from Central University of Gujarat, said he received the scholarship amount. But he is worried about the future of the scholarship if the UGC is getting replaced as a nodal agency.

“The current fund flow through UGC as nodal agency seems very comfortable where scholars don’t face any hardships. After September 30, when the Ministry of Minority Affairs will start the process of appointing a new nodal agency, the process will take at least a month and there are chances of fellowship being delayed further. The delaying of fellowship will not only impact research but will also impact the submission of thesis for a lot of scholars. It will be good for all if UGC remains the nodal agency of Maulana Azad National Fellowship,” Mr. Majid said.


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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 10:00:36 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pmo-intervenes-maulana-azad-fellows-get-scholarships-after-delay/article65783742.ece