On Saturday, the University Grants Commission (UGC) issued a notice announcing that the scholarship funds will be released. These are those scholarship funds that were withheld from awardees until October, under various schemes.
Under different scholarship schemes, the disbursal of funds has been initiated and the backlogs of up till October will be cleared, stated the UGC notice. The funds will be directly deposited in the bank accounts of research scholars and they will be transferred through Direct Bank Transfer. In fact, pending funds of many such scholars have already been approved with immediate effect.
Further, the notice stated that funds for the month of November will also be released soon after. Meanwhile, the Commission is also trying to simplify the process of online document submission. It is a procedure that had led to immense chaos during the lockdown.
On Friday, after Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU), along with student unions of Pondicherry University and Lady Shri Ram College (Delhi University) met UGC officials and discussed the issues of the students including the non-disbursal of scholarship funds, the UGC notice came.
Respite has been offered to many research scholars after the release of the circular today who had lost hopes of receiving any money and were on the verge of quitting their course. Pursuing MPhil from JNU, Mrinal Borah said that it brings a lot of relief and this should have been done earlier.
Some scholars, meanwhile, expressed their disbelief over the initiation of the transfer of funds that had been stalled for several months now.
On Friday, the UGC had, in another relief to research scholars, extended the date of submission of dissertations and theses for Ph.D. and MPhil scholars by six months. Due to the prolonged closure of universities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was taken. Students had been earlier granted an extension till December 31. It has now, however, been extended till June 30.
Aishwarya Reddy, in November, a student of Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi had died by suicide and had cited failure to receive an installment of her scholarship as the reason for the extreme step taken by her.