Women researchers might get maternity leave benefits and more time to complete their doctorate as the government is keen to boost their participation in research and academia.
Human resource development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani has proposed to the University Grants Commission (UGC) that women researchers be given three years, as opposed to the two at present, to complete MPhil and eight years, instead of six, to complete PhD. The same could be applicable to differently-abled researchers, too.
Irani said on Monday that women students would also be given maternity leave for 240 days that would be excluded from their total time of study. Speaking at an event to release the ranking of Indian institutes, Irani said many women were getting enrolled in higher education programmes but very few were seen in college and university faculty.
The HRD ministry has asked the UGC to consider relaxing norms so as to enable women to compete in MPhil and PhD “in a proactive fashion”.
In addition, women and differently abled researchers would be allowed easier migration from one institute to another if they fulfilled the required criteria.
“We are going to ensure that we give them allowance for migration from one university to another, given that the facilities within the area they are working on are available in the university they are migrating to,” Irani said, expressing concern that very few women were taking up research, especially in science.