Researchers left high and dry: Mumbai University scholars haven’t received fellowships for last 6 months
The varsity has assured students that they will be paid from MU’s own kitty.education Updated: Apr 26, 2017 22:02 IST
Around 120 non-NET MPhil and PhD scholars at the University of Mumbai (MU) have not received their monthly fellowships for the last six months, as the University Grants Commission (UGC) is yet to release funds for educational assistance.
The scholars said that some of them didn’t get any money since October, while others didn’t receive fellowships after December. They have raised the issue with varsity authorities, who assured them that the varsity will pay them from its own kitty.
Last year, the central government faced a huge outcry from student the community when it cancelled the non-NET fellowships, given to scholars who have not cleared National Eligibility Test (NET). While the fellowships were reinstated, researchers have been complaining about UGC’s reluctance in releasing funds for them.
Most of the researchers at MU are from outside the city and are dependent on the fellowship money for their day-to-expenditure. “We are unable to pay our hostel and mess fees. I have to borrow money from friends to meet my daily needs,” said Paras Sharma, an MPhil student at varsity’s department of Eurasian studies.
As part of non-NET fellowships, MPhil and PhD students get Rs5,000 and Rs8,000 every month.
At the beginning of the current academic year 2016-2017, Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Deonar, had announced that it will no longer provide non-NET fellowships to researchers due to a freeze in funding from central government. In the absence of UGC funds, the institute has been paying around Rs3,000 per month to both MPhil and PhD students.
Activists feel that UGC has been strategically delaying funding to various educational assistance programme in order to derail those schemes. “The government is gauging the mood among students. If there’s an uproar they will reisntate the funding,” said Kiran Sawant of Nationalist Student Congress.
A senior official from MU said that they are unable to grant fellowships on time, as the funds are released in instalments. “We will provide the pending fellowships from December from our own funds in two-three days,” he said.