An official letter sent to the scholars pursuing research in M.Phil and Ph.D. Degrees in Humanities and Social Sciences has put some of them is confusion and distress regarding the delivery of their JRF and SRF scholarships. The letter, regarding the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) scheme of the University Grants Commission (UGC), has said the Commission stopped automatic conversion of the status of fellowship from JRF to SRF.
However, an official confirmed that the Commission is following the rules and it is now withdrawing "a relaxation" given to the candidates in recent years.
The tenure of fellowship is initially for two years under the JRF scheme. Upon expiry of this period, according to the UGC rules, the work of the Fellow will be evaluated by experts. If the research work is found satisfactory, the tenure will be extended for a further period of three years under the enhanced emoluments of the SRF.
"WEF 01.09.2019, UGC has stopped Automatic Conversion from JRF to SRF. The University/Institute may upload SRF details vide option Transaction Data Entry>>JRF to SRF Upgradation. This needs to get approved by UGC. Once UGC Approves the upgradation, then only the User will be getting payments at SRF Rate," the letter had said.
"Earlier many scholars were getting the benefits of Automatic Conversion, where the scholars were not upgraded as SRF by the University/Institute. Such scholars whose upgradation is pending in system, will not be getting the payment at SRF Rate until the Upgradation gets approved by UGC," the letter added.
"NETJRF Scholars who has completed 3 years and not upgraded to SRF in system, will not be getting any payment untill the SRF Upgradation gets approved by UGC. SO, please contact your University/Institute and get the upgradation done at the earliest," the letter said.
As per a latest revision, a JRF scholar draws Rs 31,000 while it is Rs 35,000 for SRF.
"Distressing for many"
Meanwhile, some scholars, who are enrolled in Central Universities, complained that their scholarships have been stopped after they received the letter.
"I didn't get the mail. But the UGC has stopped the automatic conversion. I am not getting fellowship after July. My University administration says that I need to complete the JRF to SRF conversion formalities before the UGC approves it," a research scholar said.
He also fears that until the official process is over he will not get any money, "not even JRF amount", which makes the "survival difficult" for him "in a city like Delhi".
Another scholar said this rule is has been re-introduced in a sudden manner in which "the scholars are left with no money as the letter came to us without any prior notice".
"The move is very distressing and confusing for many, especially for such people who are staying outside in rented accommodation," said another scholar from Delhi.
When contacted, an official said if any of the scholars are not getting the money (not even the JRF), the issue is only "individual cases" and "they have to check their fellowship tracking system to check further details".
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