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Government of India has launched a Central Sector scheme namely, Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship (RGNF) during the financial year 2012-13 to increase opportunities to students with disabilities for pursuing higher education leading to degrees such as M. Phil. and Ph.D. The scheme will take effect from 1st April 2012. The scheme caters the requirements of the students with disabilities for pursuing research degree in universities, research institutions and scientific institutions. This will not only enable them to be eligible for employment to the posts of Lecturers lying vacant in various colleges and universities but will equip them to effectively take advantage of the growing opportunities at the national and international level in the context of the new economic order.
Scope of the Scheme:-
The scheme caters total number of 200 Fellowship [Junior Research Fellows (JRF)] per year to students with disabilities. The scheme covers all universities/institutions recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Non-Universities/Institutions and is implemented by the UGC itself on the pattern of the scheme of UGC Fellowship being awarded to research students pursuing M.Phil. and Ph.D. These fellowships will be available to students with disabilities who are covered under The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. Thus, a person with disability who wishes to avail the benefit under the Act has to obtain a disability certificate from the medical authority notified for the purpose.
i. Any student with disabilities who has been admitted to M.Phil./Ph.D. degree in a University or academic institution by completing the required formalities for admission in that University or academic institution is eligible for the award of Fellowship, subject to provision of the scheme as per the advertisement of UGC. The candidate must get himself/herself registered for M.Phil/Ph.D at the first available opportunity but not later than within a period of two years from the receipt of award letter. This period is not extendable. However, the actual payment of fellowship will be made with effect from the date of joining only.
ii. After two years, if the progress in the research works of the awardee is found satisfactory, his/her tenure will be extended for a further period of three years as Senior Research Fellowship (SRF). The research work will be assessed by a three member committee set up by the University. The committee will consist of the Supervisor, Head of the Department and one outside expert in the subject. JRF may be terminated in case the progress of the candidate is not found satisfactory by the committee. The SRF shall be sanctioned on year to year basis on the recommendation of the Supervisor of the candidate duly accepted/rejected by the Head of the Department and finally approved by the Vice-Chancellor. The total period of award of JRF and SRF shall not exceed a period of five years. The fellowship is paid from the date of registration of the students in M.Phil./Ph.D. course.
iii. The students with disabilities once considered eligible for the fellowship shall not be entitled to any other benefits from Central or State Government or any other body like UGC offering similar benefit to avoid duplication and increase coverage. Only those doing regular and full time M.Phil./Ph.D. course of a University/Research Institution shall be eligible for the fellowship. Employees of any University/College/Educational Institution/Central/State/UT Government shall be excluded from availing Fellowship, even if they are on Study Leave or EOL to pursue the M.Phil./Ph.D. course.
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