To promote quality research in IITs and ensure students opt for higher education, the HRD ministry, under the Prime Minister’s Research fellowship, is likely to receive a fellowship amount of ₹75,000 per month, sources said.
To pass on the benefit to students, the HRD ministry has, however, included a clause under which students awarded the fellowship for direct PhD in IITs after completing BTech will have to refund the entire amount in case they leave the course midway.
The scheme will roll out once it gets a clearance from the cabinet, sources said.
At present, there are 25,000 scholars enrolled in different PhD programmes in IITs.
“The quality of research in IITs depends on the quality of students in the PhD programme. To improve this quality, it is essential to encourage bright students completing the BTech programme to register for direct PhD programme. But at the same time, we have to ensure that students don’t leave the course after getting a job and thus, we have decided to insert a clause of refund,” said a senior HRD official. At present, students opt for PhD after completing their Masters and get ₹25,000 per month.
As the amount under the Prime Minister’s fellowship has been increased substantially, the selection process is likely to be more rigorous.
The fellowship will start from this academic year and for starters, 1,000 fellows will be taken into the programme.
“In case the student leaves the fellowship before securing his PhD, the entire fellowship amount thus far released will have to be returned lump sum,” said a senior official.
The fellowship was approved last year by the IIT council, the highest decision making body for the institutions, headed by HRD minister Prakash Javadekar.
Sources said students in the final year of BTech in IIT and falling in the top 25 percentile of the class in terms of the cumulative academic performance in the past six semesters will be offered the fellowship.
The fellowship amount will be paid for five years. “Students who are offered the fellowship will have to write the outline of the research project they would like to take up as part of the PhD programme. It will be considered by a committee constituted by the Board of Governor (BoG) of each IIT,” said an official.