New Delhi: Caught in between the aggrieved students and UGC over discontinuation of the non-NET fellowship, the HRD ministry on Friday said the decision will be reviewed by an expert panel even as protests by students from universities across Delhi entered the fourth day today.
The HRD Ministry officials said that they are planning to review the programme altogether and strengthen the existing National Eligibility Test (NET) and Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) scheme or create another method of an all-India examination for non-NET qualified candidates.
"The aim is to focus on merit and equity in disbursal of the fellowships and not to discontinue them," officials said, adding, an expert committee is expected to be set up to review all the fellowship programmes along with the proposal to hold a national examination.
UGC, had resolved to discontinue the non-NET fellowship in a meeting held on October 7, contending that the fellowship programme was discriminatory in nature and lacked uniformity among universities in the selection process.
"Continuing the scheme would have also meant huge financial implications for UGC as the expenditure in 2014-15 alone, was to the tune of Rs 99.16 crore," said UGC secretary in a communication to the ministry.
The minutes of a UGC meeting in April had clearly stated that recent hike in the rate of scholarships had the potential of adversely affecting other fellowship and scholarship programmes.
"The UGC has incurred an expenditure of about Rs 1,083 crore on scholarships and fellowships alone and that it is going to adversely affect other schemes unless additional resources are made available to the UGC," the minutes of the meeting had said.