Overlapping the names of some candidates in various fellowships offered by the Central government has raised eyebrows. The University Grants Commission or UGC, the higher education regulator and also the nodal agency to deliver various higher education research scholarships and fellowships to researchers from various education institutions in the country, has recently released fellowship lists for minority and OBC students and both lists repeat names of applicants which, according to students, denies a good number of candidates their chance to avail the benefit.
"In the latest lists of the MANF and OBC Fellowships, names of more than 50 candidates can be found in both the lists. Despite the fact that it is the UGC which finalises and publishes the lists of candidates qualifying the MANF and OBC Fellowships, why did the commission fail to detect such major overlaps?," asked a researcher from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
"Or was it a deliberate attempt on the part of the UGC to bring such overlaps since such candidates can claim only one of the fellowships and so the Commission can save funds?," he wondered.
Researchers also alleged same discrepancy when it comes to scholarship lists released after the announcement of Junior Research Fellowship or JRF through the UGC NET examination.
"Ever since applications were invited for the MANF and OBC Fellowships, the UGC had conducted NET examination two times and many of the candidates who qualified JRF in these examinations have also been selected for the MANF and OBC Fellowships. Such an overlap will again lead to the wastage of several slots in fellowships," another researcher said.
More slots for agriculture researchers?
"In the list of provisionally selected candidates under the scheme of 'National Fellowship for Other Backward Classes (OBC)' for the year 2018-19 that UGC published on 14th August 2019, out of the total 1000 slots, 320 slots have been given for agricultural students. Why such an imbalance in the list?," asked a researcher from a central university.
"If a large chunk of the slots have been given out for agricultural researchers, wouldn't it be injustice to researchers from the hundreds of other disciplines and sub-disciplines?," she complained.
Researchers demanded second lists or waiting lists for major higher education scholarships provided to minority, OBC and Scheduled Caste students.
NDTV tried to contact the UGC officials in this regard, but, that did not elicit any response.
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India, has recently notified an increase in the fellowship amount for three Fellowships - National Fellowship for SCs (NFSC), National Fellowship for OBCs (NFOBC), and Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF).
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