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The human resource and development ministry (MHRD) is set to roll out the ambitious Prime Minister Research Fellowships scheme from January to stop India’s talent from going abroad for higher education, jobs and research.
Under the scheme the government would provide direct admissions to around 1,000 final year students from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) into PhDs, and would give them a fellowship stipend of Rs 75,000 a month for five years.
“The total size of the scheme is expected to be around Rs 1,000 crore. The Cabinet has given its in-principal approval and currently it is pending with the expenditure finance committee (EFC) for approval,” said a senior government official. “The EFC clearance is expected shortly,” the official said.
Currently there are around 25,000 scholars in the IITs and they get admission into PhDs only after completing their masters. They are paid a stipend of Rs 25,000 a month. The government said students applying for this fellowship should be class toppers and they have to convince the Board of Governor (BoG) of their respective institutions about their research projects. The students, however, have to refund the entire amount if they decide to leave their PhDs mid-way. The project was approved by the IIT council, the highest decision making body of IITs and headed by MHRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, last year to stop the brain drain.
The decision was taken amid reports that most M-Tech students in IITs were leaving their courses mid-way to join public sector undertakings.
Currently there are 23 IITs and 31 NITs in the country with a combined strength of more than 200,000 students.