Cabinet approves Prime Minister Research Fellows Scheme

The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved the Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF) scheme with a cost of Rs 1650 crore for a period of seven years starting from 2018-19.

“The best students who have completed or are in the final year of B.Tech or integrated M.Tec from IISC/IITs/NITs/IISERs/IIITs will be offered direct admission in PhD programmes in IITs and IISC,” said a government statement.

Each fellow will get a fellowship of Rs 70000 per month for the first two years, Rs 75000 per month for the third year and Rs 80000 per month for the fourth and fifth years. They will also get a research grant of Rs 2 lakh for five years to cover foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers in international conferences and seminars. A total of 3000 fellows will be selected in a three year period.

The scheme was announced in the Union budget recently. The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry will start accepting proposals for this.
“In essence, it is a good move. But if they want promote knowledge transfer it would be better if they teach at engineering colleges or science colleges depending on the background of the students. Teaching in a difficult set up for which you are not used to, would require greater training for these fellows who would be selected,” said Dheeraj Sanghi, a professor of computer science at IIT Kanpur.

This is yet another move by the government to improve the quality in ITIs across the country. In the past they had roped in some companies under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode to upgrade the ITIs and improve the quality. They were earlier under the labour ministry and since April 2015 been transferred to the skills ministry.

India has around 14,000 ITIs across the country.

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