Hundreds of research scholars at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Millia Islamia have not been getting their fellowship for at least four months now during the pandemic because the institutions are yet to take the approval process online.
While MPhil and PhD students at Jamia have to physically submit continuation certificates every month to receive the scholarship amount, those at JNU are required to make a presentation of their synopsis offline to be eligible.
Nearly 4,000 top scorers in the National Eligibility Test (NET) receive a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) of Rs 31,000 a month for the first two years of MPhil or PhD courses at central universities and then a Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) of Rs 35,000 a month for the next three years after their thesis synopsis is approved.
Those not eligible for the JRF-SRF get a non-NET fellowship of Rs 5,000 a month during the two-year MPhil programme and Rs 8,000 a month during PhD that students have to complete in three to six years.
A PhD student at Jamia said he went back to his hometown Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh in March just before the lockdown had been announced. “During the lockdown I contacted the university about the payment of my fellowship. But our university does not have an online facility to submit documents. My fellowship is pending since January,” the student, who did not wish to be named, said. He had not received fellowship for January and February, when there had been no lockdown, as he had not submitted documents.
Students at Jamia have to submit a continuation form every month at their department or centre. After approval, the department or centre forwards the continuation certificate to the varsity administration, which uploads the document on the scholarship portal of the University Grants Commission. The UGC then transfers the fellowship money directly to the bank account of the student.
Scores of research students who have not been at the Jamia campus amid the pandemic have not been getting their fellowship amounts.
The Telegraph sent an email to Jamia vice-chancellor Najma Akhtar on the students’ grievance but received no response.
At JNU, those students who have not presented their thesis synopsis for SRF and non-NET PhD fellowship have not been getting any money as the university has not yet provided the option of online presentation.
JNU offers an integrated MPhil and PhD course. Those in the first two years of the course have been receiving their JRF or the non-NET fellowship as they do not need to make any presentation. Students who could make their SRF and non-NET PhD presentation before the lockdown kicked in have also not faced the funds block.
More than 100 students have not been getting funds.
JNU registrar Pramod Kumar said the students whose synopsis could not be approved due to the lockdown would be considered as special cases for the payment of arrears.