The Gujarat government has approved 754 research topics across disciplines in its first year of giving assistance under the Scheme of Developing High Quality Research (SHODH). The subjects of research range from studying the effect of World Yoga Day training programmes, the right to privacy, health and risk-taking behaviour in police personnel and the image of women in works by authors Jhumpa Lahiri and Arundhati Roy.
The scheme was launched in 2019 to provide financial assistance to students undertaking research in state recognised universities. The maximum research topics that bagged funds after clearing the government’s scrutiny committee were in the Science faculty – 297. This was followed by the Arts faculty with 238 topics and the Agriculture faculty with 111 topics. The Commerce faculty came fourth with only 28 approved research topics.
The government’s scrutiny committee consists of seven members who decide the fate of a research topic; whether the concerned PhD qualifies for the scheme or not. The scrutiny committee has the authority to qualify or disqualify an application.
The state government’s scholarship scheme, with financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh per student over a period of two years, has disbursed Rs 6.81 crore in total to 754 researchers of the 1,258 applications received by the scrutiny committee.
“More than 1,250 students registered under the scheme and the scrutiny committee appointed by the state government scrutinised around 754 of these applications. The state government has disbursed Rs 6,81.90,000, till date, to students availing this scheme,” said Principal Secretary (Education) Anju Sharma.
Among universities, Gujarat University has the highest number of awardees of this scholarship, with 151 students undertaking research majorly in the fields of Arts and Science. Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University in Patan is the second in the number of students availing this scheme.
“Out of the 278 fresh PhDs registered this year, 151 have been approved under SHODH. The reason for such a large number of researchers getting financial assistance under this scheme is that we are working towards societal and industrial requirements. We make sure the Research and Development Committees approving the subjects for research have industrial experts who help students to select titles and subjects. All topics can be either patented or used for the society,” said Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat University, Himanshu Pandya.
Some areas in which research under SHODH is being undertaken by Gujarat University include pharma, healthcare, nano science, material science and environment law, among others.
JJ Vora, Vice-Chancellor of Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University in Patan, said, “Out of total 450 registrations in PhD, 136 are approved for financial assistance under SHODH. Majority are in faculty of Arts followed by Commerce and Science.”
Some of the topics of research from the university include ‘A study of Economic Causes of Malnutrition Among Tribal Child Girls of South Gujarat’ from the Economics department; ‘Image of Women in Select Works of Jhumpa Lahiri and Arundhati Roy’ from the English department and ‘A legal Study on Right to Privacy in Gujarat in The Era of Globalisation’ from the Law department.
Additionally, promoting research in agriculture, especially in organic and natural farming, subjects chosen by students also include agronomics, soil sciences, vegetable sciences, animal nutrition and farm machinery.
“Agronomics and soil sciences are promoting organic and natural farming, which is the prime mandate of the university – to go for non-chemical based farming. These are based on the demands of farming communities, which are then assigned to students in order to solve their issues,” said Dr RV Vyas, Vice-Chancellor of Anand Agricultural University.
The scholars undertaking PhD in state government, sectoral or private universities, barring scholars of national institutes, should have achieved minimum 55 percent marks in graduation and post graduation courses (without gracing and rounding off) to qualify for the scheme. The same is relaxed by five percent for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
As per the conditions laid down by the education department on August 5, 2019, the applicant has to be a PhD scholar of a regular course in fulltime mode registered after July 1, 2018.
Along with Rs 15,000 per month, an additional stipend of Rs 20,000 annually for a period of two years is a part of the fellowship scheme which the state government has reserved for books, inventory and transportation costs. Thus, the maximum amount a scholar can avail in two years is Rs 4 lakh.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines