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Thursday, December 4, 2008

UGC fellowship offer

UGC to offer fellowships to students with special needs


THE University Grants Commission (UGC) has supported Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students' demand to offer fellowships to students with special needs who are pursuing an MPhil and PhD. JNU's National Student Union of India (NSUI) in a recent protest at the UGC office had put forth a few demands to increase the number of fellowships at the postgraduate level, including launching a fellowship equivalent to the Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship for students with special needs. 

   "The government offers Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship to SC/ST students at the MPhil and PhD level, but there is no provision for any such scholarship for physically challenged students. Hence, we demanded from the UGC to start a fellowship on similar lines for these students. There are around 1000 physically challenged students in central universities, and establishing a fund for these students is not a big task," said Bharat Kumar, general secretary NSUI, JNU and a PhD scholar. 

   Sukhadeo Thorat, chairman, UGC, while supporting the cause said, "Fellowships for physically challenged students at the doctorate level is a genuine demand. We support the cause of students and we will try to start a fellowship equivalent to the Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship soon." 

   NSUI had also put forth other demands such as increasing the number and amount of fellowships offered to students. "After postgraduation, most students want to take up jobs. If the government wants to promote research in the country, it is important to provide a proper support system to research scholars, therefore, we have asked whether the amount offered under the Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship can be increased and also the ambit of the fellowship," Kumar said. 

   Till now SC/ST students pursuing an MPhil or PhD were given Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000 under the scheme. "The government has now sent a formal notification to increase Rs 4,000 at both the levels. But there is unequal distribution of fellowships as the number of students from each state is fixed. So, sometimes a student from one state is left out even if s/he is meritorious because of a student from another state since it is a fixed number of beneficiaries. Hence, we have demanded that all deserving students should be given the scholarship," said Kumar. To which, Thorat responded: "I have asked students to formally appeal to the ministry of social justice and empowerment on this issue."



  Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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