The Ministry of Social and Empowerment recently stated that the number of fellowships offered under the National Fellowship for those belonging to Scheduled Caste category would soon be increased from 2000 to 4000. Apart from that the ministry is also planning to change this exam’s eligibility criteria.
The guidelines states that to select the eligible candidates for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF), the University Grants Commission (UGC) conducts two exams every year. In order to select candidates for the SC fellowship, the JRF candidates numbering to 2000 are selected in two batches where every batch contains 1000 students.
Until now, the Ministry itself used to select these SC candidates with the help of a committee. In order to bridge the differences among social hierarchy, the committee used to select candidates regardless of their score in National Eligibility Test (NET). However, from now there will be a change in this system. The eligible candidates will be selected on the basis of merit.
Sources from the Ministry have stated that once the new system comes into force, the SC candidates would be selected for fellowship on the basis of their score in the NET exam. Earlier, the Ministry used to appoint a committee that selected these candidates and UGC selected candidates that came under their share. From now onwards, system will be the same for everyone.
The UPA govt had launched this National Fellowship 14 years back in 2005 in the form of Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship. With this, those students belonging to SC have got a chance to pursue degree programmes such as PhD and MPhil. Also See National Scholarships
Ministry sources further said that once this decision comes into force, there will be an increase of Rs 3000 crores in the expenses incurred by the govt. It will come into force once the Union Cabinet provides its assent. Apart from that, it needs assent from several other concerned ministries as well.
The official notification regarding this decision states that the govt is bound to increase this figure as the Ministry is committed to its decision. It will help in filling the large no of lecturer posts that are lying vacant. Several deserving candidates would also get employment opportunities. It will also equip these candidates to take advantage of offered opportunities at various levels under the new economic order.