PMO India: Give our research fellowship monthly, because we do have right to survive too.

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We, research fellows of CSIR would like to bring the attention of MHRD, PMO India, and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment towards our grievances. The recent change in rule to avail Ph.D. fellowship (Direct Benefit Transfer-DBT), and communication gap between constituent laboratories/Universities or any other institutions and HRDG/MHRD, our stipend is delayed by several months (form 4 to 10 months). Although, all the necessary documents required to claim fellowship have been sent to CSIR-HRDG by the laboratories/Universities/institutions.

After bearing lots of financial trauma and crises, our life became two way traffic from laboratory to its administrative block (back and forth). Every time, we visit administrative block with the hope of getting some information, at least the status of fellowship, when and how we’ll get it. But they (administration) reply that the related documents have been sent to CSIR-HRDG and we (administration) do not have any link or communication channel to CSIR-HRDG, and not paying proper attention for this matter. Problem is getting worse day by day, that no one is taking responsibility. Although, we approached each and every authority of constituent laboratory. Still situation is same as earlier that once again related documents will be sent to CSIR-HRDG but dilemma of releasing stipend continues.

We also tried to contact CSIR-HRDG, sent many e-mails and called them over phone also, but as usual bureaucracy in India works with an attitude of not listening to the public grievances, although they are duty bound to work for public. They rarely reply to any emails or receive calls through official numbers or making official number engaged if anyone calls frequently and even not to reply through personal mobile numbers.    

Some fellows of CSIR (working at CSIO, Chandigarh a constituent laboratory of CSIR) approached to officials of CSIR-HRDG and they got responses as usually expected behavior of bureaucrats. One official of EMR-I section at CSIR-HRDG, replied that stipend are processed for fellows whom Grant-in-aid claim bill (a bill to claim stipend through DBT) received by us before 10th April, 2018. As per record, CSIO, Chandigarh bill section have sent their Grant-in-aid claim bill for last 5 months (November, 2017 to March, 2018) by 17th April, 2018 and for April month by 14th May, 2018. So, the main question is whether the Grant-in-aid claim bill received at CSIR-HRDG after 10th day of every month will be ignored and will not be processed or it will be. And when stipend will be released, whether Grant-in-aid claim bill sent to HRDG will be processed in the same month or not? Now we cannot survive anymore because money does matter as everyone is not from a strong economic background. 

We feel “Direct Benefit Transfer” is implemented with the motive to stop the leakage of fellowship and to deliver the benefits to the beneficiaries directly as soon as possible. But because of working attitude of bureaucrats “direct benefit transfer” is becoming “delayed benefit transfer”. As per Article 21 of Indian constitution, every citizen have “Right to life and personal liberty”, which also includes Right to Livelihood, Right to Health and Right to Medical Care. Since fellows are not entitled to get any medical facilities at many laboratories/institutions (for example CSIR-CSIO, Chandigarh). So, all ours livelihood, health and medical care are only dependent on our research fellowship which is delayed by several months. All these “rights” mentioned above are “fundamental rights”, so any state or its policy/scheme cannot deprive us (research fellows) from means of livelihood by delaying our fellowship. Moreover, we fellows are mentally harassed and because of opaque nature of management of direct benefit transfer scheme our research work also gets delayed by same proportion. So, it’s huge loss of research fellows as well as the nation also.  

Therefore, we request to the concerned authorities to do needful to make it mandatory that research fellowship will be released before 10th day of every month, to respective fellows by any means.