A group of PhD students have launched an online mass petition Sunday urging the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to extend the tenure of their researches by at least six months along with the fellowship grants.
“Due to the sudden intimation of notice and initial short duration of the announced lockdown, most of the research scholars left the institute premises without setting up a proper remote experiment environment, leaving supporting research documents, materials, books, and notes behind,” the petition said.
It further stated, “All the instrument and material-based experimental set ups have degraded or become unusable in such a long duration.” The scholars whose work heavily relies on respective institutes’ research infrastructure — laboratories, libraries, journals’ subscription, internet — and environment, the petition stated, are in distress as the research activities are almost in a complete halt for such a long time.
Scholars get a PhD fellowship for five years from the Government of India, and often it becomes tough to wrap up the thesis-related research work within the stipulated time-frame.
A PhD student from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, told The Indian Express, “The University Grants Commission (UGC) has allowed a period of six months for those students who are in their [thesis] submitting year. But what about the others? The UGC has also been silent on fellowship.”