Fellowship hike issue casts shadow over IISc Open Day

Fellowship hike issue casts shadow over IISc Open Day

Although research scholars at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) welcomed the general public and enthusiastic students to the institute as part of the ‘Open Day’ event on the issue of fellowship hike for research students hung heavy in the air.

Open Day is an annual feature at the India’s premier research institute.  Sumit Haldar, a first year PhD student from the Solid State and Structural Unit (SSCU) was immersed in explaining various experiments on hydrophobic properties of substances and on hydrogen bonds to school children, however on the back of his mind the issue of fellowship hike loomed large. “As a student I am deeply frustrated. However, at the same time we also know that we have duties and responsibilities towards the institute. So, I cannot back out from such an event,” he said .

 “After various deductions like food, I get Rs 13,000 of which I send some back to my family. Although at this point in time money is not so important to me but I can understand the plight of other students who have a family to look after,” says, Disha Mohan, a PhD scholar at Molecular Biophysics Unit of the IISc. As a junior research fellow (JRF), Disha gets a monthly stipend of Rs 16,000.

Although the government announced hikes for research scholars in October 2014, a number of issues including the date of implementation remain unresolved. A number of funding agencies have announced different dates of implementation of the hike.

Srinivasan Sukumaran, a manager with an MNC, along with his son, were among the many who thronged the institute. “My driver gets a salary of Rs 13,000 and when researchers demand for a hike of around Rs 22,000 to 25,000 there should be no questions. It should be just granted,” he said. 

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