AIIMS Research Scholars seek 80 percent stipend hike
New Delhi: A week after JIPMER took out a silent rally in unity protest for an 80 per cent hike in research fellowship; over 1,000 PhD scholars from the Society of Young Scientists (SYS) at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has shot a letter to the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Human Resource Development in the same regard.
Research Scholars practising all across the country observed a stipend raise in the year 2014 and prior to that in 2010. With no hike in stipend since last 4 years and inflation rising rapidly, they are facing a tough time as their salaries have not been increased as promised; leading to financial difficulties.
Protesting against the agony faced by many such scholars in different educational institutions, Research Scholars of India Forum started their strike on January 16. The forum is on protest since then; demanding for an 80% hike in fellowship stipends and quicker disbursement of research funds. They urged the Union Government for the implementation of the key demand.
Researchers with the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF), a coveted fellowship offered by the CSIR; get Rs 25,000 each.
As of now, the Centre extends scholarship of Rs 25,000 per month (for the first 2 years and Rs 28,000 per month for the next 3 years of the research programme) in addition with rent allowance of Rs 5,000 per month to Research Scholars in the central and state government institutions running all across the country.
The scholars are demanding the Centre to hike the scholarship to Rs 45,000 per month (80% hike) and hike the rent allowance accordingly. They also urged the Centre to disburse scholarship every month without any delay. They urged the Union human resource development ministry to evolve a mechanism for a timely and hassle-free system for the periodical hike in fellowship every four years.
Last week, PhD Research scholars at the premier, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) took out a silent rally in solidarity with the forum.
Now, according to a recent report by Mail Today, SYS at AIIMS have written to the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Human Resource Development demanding 80 per cent hike.
Dr Vishwakarma, who is a PhD scholar and the President of the AIIMS SYS informed the daily, "The stipend for research fellowship was last revised w.e.f October 1, 2014 and there was a 56 per cent hike in the stipend. We demand 80 per cent hike in the stipend for every research scholar from various eminent universities like the AIIMS, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER), National Institute of Pathology (NIOP), National Institute of Immunology (NII), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR) among others.”
"We, the research scholars, work hard to contribute to taking science to next level in India. We only get between Rs 25,000 and Rs 28,000 stipend, and the amount is very less," added the AIIMS SYS President.
“If the government does not increase our fellowship by a minimum of 80% then scholars will feel cheated,” said a release issued by the group.
Researchers also want that fellowship hike should be done every four years automatically by the government.
“Why do research scholars need to knock on the government’s door every four years to get their own rights?” they demanded to know, adds The Hindu.
Meanwhile, one of the respondent parties to the letter has affirmed action on their legit demands. Secretary of Department of Science and Technology, informed Mail Today, "We have noted the demands of the research scholars. A stipend hike is underway and the finance ministry is looking into the matter which is in its final stage."