The religious minorities have been dismayed over the recent decisions to discontinue the MANF offered by the Union ministry of minority affairs (MoMA) and administered through the UGC
The religious minorities have been dismayed over the recent decisions to discontinue the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) offered by the Union ministry of minority affairs (MoMA) and administered through the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Launched in 2009, the fellowship has been providing financial support to students belonging to six religious minority communities namely, Buddhist, Christian, Jain, Parsi, Muslim and Sikh, to pursue their MPhil/PhD degrees. Over the past eight years, the scheme cost the exchequer about Rs 738.85 crore and helped 6,722 minority students. Allocations for the scheme have declined steadily during this period from Rs 150 crore in 2017-18 to a mere Rs 99 crore in 2021-22. Still, few had anticipated that the scheme would be axed in its entirety.
The step will affect about a thousand students from the minority communities each year. But what is more important than the number is the fact that the fellowships helped bright students from marginalised minorities to pursue research in engineering/ technology, in humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.
The fellowship was axed ostensibly on the ground that it overlapped with other fellowships, but that would amount to stretching the argument a bit too far. The UGC and CSIR Junior Research Fellowship...
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