The University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to release the research fellowship funds without the monthly confirmation from institutions. The stipend is being released through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode which credits the amount directly to the bank accounts of scholars.
Bhushan Patwardhan, vice chairman, UGC, tells Education Times that since institutions are involved at all the important junctures in the fellowship process, there is no dire need for monthly confirmation and most often there are no major changes in the details of bonafide scholars on a monthly basis.
“As pandemic has made it difficult for the institutes to function and no scholars can visit the campuses, it is practical to move ahead with an alternative approach. Earlier, there was a delay in transferring the stipend due to some technical problems and issues with Canara bank. But, now things are sorted,” Patwardhan says.
Faisal Nazir from Sitamarhi, Bihar, a recipient of Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) pursuing PhD from Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) faced tremendous problems in getting stipend in the last five months.
He hopes the move will help him receive his stipend without hassle. “We submit forms of continuation, HRA and contingency after getting the documents signed from the supervisor, HoD and registrar. This is a tedious process for those away from the campus as it involves paperwork and frequent visit to the university,” he says.
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While there is relief among scholars regarding timely disbursal of stipend, direct transfer of amounts without institutes’ monthly confirmation may lead to financial chaos.
Patwardhan says that the paperwork including the details of bank account and fellowships are completed by the institutes and there are no frequent changes. Besides, the UGC follows an evaluation process where review reports are to be submitted by the institutes, which negates any possibility of unethical practice.
Shamim Ahmad received Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) at JNU but could not upgrade to SRF due to the pandemic. He has not received any stipend since November 2019.
“The SRF meeting was fixed on March 24, 2020, but was cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak. After the second meeting in October, I got the SRF committee report after one month, which I summited to the university branch. However, I have not been upgraded yet. I was unable to pay the mess bill and faced difficulties in continuing my research; hence I returned to my hometown in Bihar, but I want to return to Delhi as soon as possible,” Ahmad says.
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