Presiding over a high-level meeting of all Secretaries of the Science Ministries and Departments, Jitendra Singh, the Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Atomic Energy and Space, has proposed a common single application for all scientific fellowships, grants and scholarships.
Accordingly, a committee has been constituted for streamlining the fellowships and research grants.
The streamlining of the fellowships and research grants will not only save cost and time but also provide a level-playing field to every individual and help achieve ‘Ease of Science Education’ for students and scholars, Singh said on Wednesday at the meeting attended by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Secretary and Chairman of the Streamlining Committee, Shekhar Mande; Ministry of Earth Sciences Secretary, M. Ravichandran; Department of Science and Technology (DST) Secretary, S. Chandrasekhar and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Secretary, Rajesh Gokhale along with senior officials.
The Union Minister informed that currently there are a number of schemes under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) providing scholarship or fellowship to students, researchers at different levels (school, UG, PG, Ph.D, Post-doc, RA or re-entry from abroad). For example, CSIR and DBT, both conduct separate examination for Junior Research Fellowship and similarly, DST, DBT and CSIR have schemes for Postdoc or Research Associateship and re-entry from abroad.
However, all these departments have separate advertisements and interview or selection processes and thus students or researchers have to apply at different portals in different formats and face multiple exams or interviews which lead to hardship among students.
This situation is not only time-consuming for students but also lot of time and resources are deployed in process of selection to disbursement of grants by the funding agencies, said a release from the MoST.
Recognising the hardship faced by students, Jitendra Singh mooted the idea of creating a single web interface to facilitate for all scholarships and fellowships under MoST and MoES. The aim is to make the schemes student-centric and simplify the processes.
He said once implemented the students need not submit multiple applications and different portals as all four departments will converge all scholarship or fellowship schemes at a single portal.
The Union Minister added that steps like simplification of processes and bringing uniformity, providing single point of contact to students or researchers, adopting a fast process and timely release of fellowships, eliminating the duplicity, synergising the process and schemes, and reducing the transaction costs will be the main components of single window opportunity for scholarships and fellowships.
Jitendra Singh said that the step was taken as a number of grievances are being received regarding delays in sanction and release of fellowships or research grants to scholars and students. Moreover, every department has its own system and mechanism of sanctioning and monitoring such fellowship grants.
The Committee for streamlining the fellowships and research grants will be chaired by Shekhar Mande and Secretaries of DST, DBT and MoES would be its members. Two senior scientists would be members too.