New Delhi: The Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan in a statement released today expressed happiness that for the first time, the Government has also recommended a set of strong financial and academic incentives to enhance and recognize the performance of our research fellows. Science & Technology is a fast-moving area in which a dynamic and holistic vision is required to secure the future of the nation and this will be a performance-based addition to the enhanced fellowship, the minister added.
Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi today, the Secretary Department of Science &Technology(DST), Prof. Ashutosh Sharma said that an Empowered Inter-Ministerial committee is to examine all the fellowship matters that have a bearing on enhancing the value, quality and experience of doctoral research, including the quantum of fellowship, which will not only widen the scope of training but also enhance the career prospects of research fellows.
The current hike announced yesterday will also be reviewed periodically, possibly annually, which is to be decided, by the empowered group that is being set up, added the Secretary. He said there are various schemes to promote global exchange of researchers, including the Scheme called ‘VAJRA’-Visiting Advanced Joint ResearchFaculty Scheme. VAJRA is a dedicated program exclusively for overseas scientists and academicians with emphasis on Non-resident Indians (NRI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) / Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) to work as an adjunct / visiting faculty for a specific period of time in Indian Public funded academic and research institutions. The Scheme recognizes the value of collaborative research as a crucial element for information sharing among researchers for updating and acquiring knowledge and skills, and also to draw different perspectives to solve a shared problem.
Joining him the Secretary Department of Biotechnology (DST) Dr. Renu Swarup and the Director General, CSIR and Secretary Department of Scientific & Industrial Research Dr. Shekhar C. Mande said the research fellowship is not a salary in career but is in the form of stipend while they are still in a career path which could lead to a great progress. They said there are several schemes now for researchers to go in for start-ups etc.
The government yesterday announced that the fellowship of PhD students and other research personnel enrolled in any area of science and technology, including Physical and Chemical Sciences, Engineering, Mathematical Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Life Sciences, Pharmacy etc. has been enhanced with effect from January 1, 2019.
The hike in fellowship will directly benefit over 60,000 Research Fellows and also provide a template to the States to consider an increase in their fellowship rates. Fellowship of the Junior Research Fellows in the first two years of PhD programme is increased from the current rate of Rs.25,000/- to Rs.31,000/- per month. Similarly, in the remaining tenure of PhD, Senior Research Fellow will get Rs. 35,000/- per month instead of the present Rs.28,000/- per month.
Further, there is substantial 30-35% enhancement in the financial rewards for the scientists involved in the R&D projects as Research Associates. The top bracket of Research Associateship is fixed at Rs.54,000/-. All the research fellows are also entitled to HRA as per Central Government norms.