Research scholars demand 1-year extension to PhD, timely disbursal of fellowships

Published on Jul 11, 2021 12:04 AM IST

Research scholars from across the country came together on Saturday to demand a one-year extension in their PhD duration in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and regular disbursement of fellowships

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ByPriyanka Sahoo, Mumbai

Research scholars from across the country came together on Saturday to demand a one-year extension in their PhD duration in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and regular disbursement of fellowships.

The first All India Scholar Convention took place on Saturday under the aegis of the Democratic Research Scholars’ Organisation (DRSO) — a national group of research scholars from across sectors. Members discussed various problems faced by research scholars during the pandemic.

Apart from extension in PhD duration, other demands included free vaccination of all students, research scholars, staff members; sanitisation and opening of laboratories, libraries and hostels; proper maintenance of instruments during and after lockdown; end to abuse and harassment of research scholars; and withdrawal of all fees collected from research scholars during the pandemic.

Arghya Das, a post-doctoral fellow at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Hyderabad and one of the convenors of DRSO, also revealed the findings of a survey of over 1,000 research scholars in the country. Das said that 90% of those surveyed said the pandemic had affected them personally and professionally, with most seeking an additional year to complete their research work. Of the respondents, 10% said they would need extension of more than one year to complete their work.

“Only 30% of those surveyed said they received their fellowship amounts on time, 60% said they received their fellowship once in three months, six months or a year,” said Das.

When asked about employment and research opportunities after a PhD, 60% respondents said they didn’t have future research and employment options.

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