Students of IIT-Bombay held a protest at the institute on Friday alleging that while the fellowship money for research scholars has not been revised for the last four years, the living expenses and fees in the institute have witnessed a drastic increase.
Hundreds of PhD and masters students participated in the rally, which began from hostel 12 and concluded at the main gate of IIT-Bombay.
“We had sent a letter to the MHRD and the department of science and technology. We also sent representations, including 2,000 signatures, with a cover letter. But there was no response or acknowledgement… forcing us to protest,” said a research scholar.
The students demanded that the fellowship hike should be made effective from April. Other demands included timely disbursement of fellowship through portal, simpler process to avail fellowship, HRA money to be at par with the actual expense of living in a modest accommodation in Mumbai, proportional increase in contingency grant and a centralised regulatory body for evaluation of fellowships.
“The scholars have to pay a semester fee of around Rs 17,000, along with mess fees of
Rs 27,000, which have been raised by Rs 7,000 in the past one year. This high lump sum payment of around Rs 45,000 every semester often becomes troublesome when the fellowship is minimal and paid very irregularly (except institute fellowship). There are instances when CSIR fellows do not receive their fellowship for six to 12 months,” the research scholars said in a statement.