West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today claimed that the government has shot off a letter to union HRD minister seeking continuation of central scholarship schemes for state scholars.
“During the course of my interactions with university students in administrative review meetings in the districts, they have brought to my notice the great distress caused to them due to stoppage of non-NET Fellowship Scheme for M. Phil and Ph.D scholars by the UGC,” Banerjee wrote in her face book post.
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At the state secratariat, she further expressed anguish over the discontinuation of such schemes. “Leaders from Delhi come here and malign us. However, the state is deprived. There are many meritorious students who continue their studies with the help of such scholarship, but now they are helpless, ” she said.
The chief minister further added, “The students have narrated with pain that many researchers do not have the money to even pay their hostel and mess fees, and some are even faced with the prospect of abandoning their dreams of pursuing research, due to stoppage of non-NET Fellowship. Moreover, I am told, release of funds by UGC under NET-JRF Fellowships is erratic or delayed at times, causing uncertainty and distress to the recipients.”
Banerjee announced a Rs 20 crore funds from an existing programme for the non-NET students.
“Aspirations for higher education are rising. In the larger interest of research, and on behalf of the vast research scholar community of my State and other states – many of them first generation learners, I have already written a letter to the Union HRD Minister to re-start the non-NET Fellowships for M Phil and Ph.D. scholars. Since the researchers have told me only 2 days back, from our side, we are allocating Rs 20 crore from Swami Vivekananda Merit cum Means Scholarship to provide non-NET Fellowship to research scholars admitted to M.Phil/Ph.D courses through a fair and transparent selection process,” she added.
News Courtesy: The Economic Times (link)