The 50th meeting of the IIT-Council, held on August 23, 2016, has approved the Government’s proposal to award 1000 fellowships every year under the Prime Minister Research Fellows (PMRFs). Minister of State (HRD), Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandy informed about this development to the Rajya Sabha in his written reply to a question.
The aim of the government is to attract more research scholars to promote research in India and help the IITs to fill up the student-teach gap at their campuses.
According to the government’s proposal, B.Tech students studying in the Indian Institutes of Technology who have secured minimum 8.5 CGPA should be given direct admission to Ph.D. programme along with a fellowship of Rs.60,000/- per month for 5 years. The proposal also added that these students will also be given a suitable research grant that will enable them to cover the expenses for attending international conferences etc.
The Government’s idea is to attract more students for research programmes and Ph.D. by providing such fellowships. Now that the IITs have agreed to ask Ph.D. scholars to teach and fill the faculty vacancies in the institutes, having more students enrolled for Ph.D. programme will only help the premier institutions to strengthen their academic performance and fight the shortage of faculty.
Close to 2,600 faculty positions are vacant across all IITs. This has resulted in the student-teacher ratio to come down to 15:1 which should ideally be 10:1. The IITs are hoping that an increase in Ph.D. scholars at IITs will help them reach the ideal student-teacher ratio.