Common Single Application for all Scientific Fellowship, Grants & Scholarships
New Delhi – After taking the chair of a high-level meeting of all the Secretaries of the Science Ministries and Science Departments, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh has proposed having a Common Single Application for all Scientific Fellowship, Grants & Scholarships to bring about streamlining of Research Grants and Fellowships.
This not only ensures a level playing field for all students and scholars in addition to it being cost-effective and time-saving.
The meeting also saw the presence of Dr Shekhar Mande, Secretary CSIR, Dr. M. Ravichandran Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Dr Rajesh Gokhale Secretary Department of Biotechnology, Dr S. Chandrasekhar, Secretary Department of Science & Technology and other senior officials.
The Union Minister noted that there are a number of schemes that provide scholarships/fellowships to students and researchers under various levels. He cited the examples of CSIR, DBT and DST have schemes for Re-entry from abroad and Postdoc/ Research Associateship, similarly DBT and CSIR both of whom conduct separate examinations for JRF.
But all of them release separate advertisements and have separate interview and selection processes. Hence students/researchers end up applying on multiple different portals in different formats andhave to attend various interviews and attempt examinations. Not only are these processes time consuming and cumbersome – a lot of resources are then deployed to ensure disbursement of grants by the funding agencies.
Dr Jitendra Singh acknowledged that students and researchers face a lot of hardship while applying for various opportunities and hence want to have a single interface created so that students/researchers can apply for all the schemes at a single portal.
The main components of the Single Window Opportunity for Scholarships and Fellowships will be enhancing the ease of the process, releasing fellowships in a timely manner and decreasing transaction costs. In addition, ministries have also been asked to examine if ongoing schemes can be merged and if NOC can be obtained from sponsoring institutes, then have a direct transfer of fellowship grants to researchers.
This proposal comes in light of the increase in the number of grievances received regularly on the delays in sanction and release of research grants and fellowship. Streamlining will bring about faster access to information, application processing, the release of grants and monitoring.
To bring about the streamlining of Research Grants and Fellowships, a three-member committee under the Chairmanship of Dr Shekhar C. Mande, Secretary, DSIR and DG, CSIR and Secretary DST, Secretary DBT, Secretary MoES, Dr. Anjan Ray, Head, HRDG and Dr. Sanjay Mishra, Senior Scientist was constituted by Dr Jitendra Singh
The establishment of a customized Centralized Project Management Unit (PMU) was put forth by the Committee. This PMU will aid in managing all the operations, processing and disbursements in regards to fellowships and projects. It can contain staff that has been outsourced and can be nodal/representatives from each of the departments.
This portal will also comprise a 24×7 call centre and a grievance redressal section. Guidance will be provided to students/ researchers/ PI and institutions with regard to the paperwork.
Also of note is that operational expenses of the proposed PMU centre could be borne equally by DSIR/CSIR and DST, SERB, DBT. Concerned departments will bear the expenses on the fellowships as done currently.