Delhi police today arrested research scholars protesting outside Union Human Resource Development Ministry. The research fellows were demanding a hike in their research stipend. The scholars were forced to fit in the police buses as they denied to leave the protest site. Over 700 students were protesting, of which some are sent to Mandir Marg police station and some in the Parliament House police station.
Nikhil Gupta, national representative and coordinator of research scholars of India, CBMR SGPGI, Lucknow who has been taken to the Mandir Marg police station told indianexpress.com, “Policemen are threatening to beat us if we do not stop our protest. But we will continue till they accept our demands”.
While the HRD Minister, Prakash Javadekar today was distributing awards to schools and students at TERRE Olympiad awards, the students were waiting to meet the Secretary, R Subrahmanyam. “We were told that the secretary will meet us at 4 pm. We were preparing a delegation of representatives when some policemen approached us and said that we have to vacate the site immediately. As we denied, we were asked to sit inside the police buses,” Vickey Nandal, IIT-Delhi research fellow told indianexpress.com.
The researchers had held a day-long protest in December 2018 after which they were assured that the HRD Ministry and Department of Science and Technology will craft a policy and establish a committee that will supervise the timely distribution of scholarship funds. While it was promised to be launched in 2019, no confirmation has been received yet.
The researchers are demanding hike in the monthly stipend from Rs 25, 000 for JRF fellow to Rs 50,000; and Rs 28,000 per SRF fellows to Rs 56,000, along with an annual inflation-based increment. Their demands also include timely distribution of funds and inclusion of PhD research personnel in the list of categories considered under the pay commission revision which ensures DA and annual salary revision along with ad-hoc reminders every four years.
After the last revision in the research stipend which was made in 2014, the JRF scholars are getting Rs 25,000 per month and SRF fellows get Rs 28,000 as a stipend.