Modi government is rolling out the mother of all scholarships for India’s best brains. As part of its move to stop them from taking up research scholarships abroad, the Cabinet has cleared the PM Research Fellowships (PMRF) for students of higher education institutions like the IITs, IISERs and NITs, which will also be the country’s most lavish paid scholarships to date.
Lavish it is. The PMRF includes monthly scholarships of Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000 and annual research grants of Rs 2 lakh for select scholars. The Centre has approved an allocation of Rs 1,650 crore for these fellows to be spent over three years.
“The scheme will go a long way in tapping the talent pool of the country for carrying out research indigenously in cutting edge science and technology domains,” Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar said.
“Research under the scheme will address our national priorities at the one hand and shortage of quality faculty in premier educational institutions of the country on the other. It will help convert brain drain into brain gain,” he said.
The minimum eligibility for aspirants will be a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 8.5. The minister said that the scheme will be rolled out from the 2018-19 academic session.
Under the scheme, students who have completed or are in final year of B.Tech or integrated M.Tech or M.Sc in science and technology streams at IISc, IITs, NITs, IISERs, IIITs will be offered direct admissions in PhD programmes in IITs and IISc.
Students, who would fulfil the eligibility criteria and get shortlisted, would be offered a fellowship of Rs 70,000 a month during the first two years, Rs 75,000 per month during the third year and Rs 80,000 per month during the fourth and the fifth year.
A research grant of Rs two lakh each will also be provided to the fellows for a period of five years to cover their foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers at international conferences and seminars.