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What are the UGC’s ‘NET’ and ‘non-NET’ fellowships?
The National Eligibility Test-Junior Research Fellowship (NET-JRF) and non-NET fellowship is basically a scholarship by which University Grants Commission offers financial support to students and research scholars in higher education. The UGC awards NET-JRF to 3,200 MPhil and PhD students every year based on their performance in NET exam.
Currently, almost 35,000 students are covered under these fellowships. An MPhil student gets Rs 5,000 a month as stipend; a PhD student gets Rs 8,000 and a junior research fellow gets Rs 25,000 per month.
What’s the ‘non-NET’ controversy?
On October 7th, 2015 the UGC decided to discontinue the ‘non-NET’ fellowship programme. This has created a problem for many students. Students are arguing that the move would discourage poor students from pursuing research. For the same, students have started to gather in groups outside the UGC headquarters demanding the authorities to not only revoke its decision, but also to raise the stipend.
What is happening now?
Students have refused to end their protests and are standing strong against UGC’s decision. In Udaipur, on the 3rd day of the Postcard campaign, students, scholars and researchers of M. Phil and PHD, gathered to support the same.
The students wrote more than 300 Postcards to HRD minister Smriti Irani. They mentioned three major demands in the postcards.
- To increase the amount of fellowship with 5 thousand to 8 thousand for M. Phil researchers and 8 thousands to 12 thousand PhD scholars.
- To expand the fellowship from Central Universities to State Universities.
- Fellowship should be given to students in every class, without any economic criteria or merit, so they can attain higher studies without any financial problems.
AISA members stand with students to support the campaign at science and commerce college campus, Udaipur. According to the students, progress of any country is not possible without the intellectual development which is essential for a better quality education system. Now this campaign has spread throughout the country and students from different universities are united for their rights and their level. Many renowned Universities like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Ambedkar University, Allahabad University, Hyderabad University, Patna University, Jamia Millia Islamia, University, Jadavpur University and many more have also decided to join hands against UGC’s decision to end the ‘Non-NET’ fellowship.