Minority students now have to clear NET for Maulana Azad Fellowship.

Minority students now have to clear NET for Maulana Azad Fellowship.

Minority community students aspiring for higher education will now have to clear the National Eligibility Test (NET) to get the Maulana Azad National Fellowship.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has linked the award of the fellowship with the results of NET, revising its guidelines recently.

"Selection of the minority students for award of fellowship under the scheme will be made on the basis of merit in the NET conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)," the revised guidelines stipulated.

The revised rules for award of the scholarship will be applicable to the students applying for it from this year.

Both CBSE and CSIR conduct the NET separately every year to determine the eligibility of the candidates for award of junior research fellowship.

The NET, conducted by the CBSE on behalf of the UGC, also determines eligibility of candidates for teaching positions at universities and colleges.

A prior clearance of the CBSE-NET/ CSIR-NET was not a prerequisite for the award of Maulana Azad National Fellowship to eligible minority students till last year.

The fellowship is offered by the Union Minority Affairs Ministry. The UGC, being the higher education regulator, is the nodal agency for the award of the fellowship meant for minority students.

Number of fellowships

"The total number of fellowships will be 756 for 2017-18 and 1,000 for 2018-19 and 2019-20," a UGC official said.

While 30% of the fellowship will be earmarked for girl   students belonging to minority communities, the remaining 70% will go to all other categories of students.

"In case there is a shortage of female candidates, the fellowship can be passed on to male students from the same minority community. In case the number of candidates exceed the number of available awards, UGC will select the candidates for the fellowships based on the percentage of marks obtained by them in the NET exam," according to the new guidelines.

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