Tuesday, October 05, 2010

If full professors got a 60% hike last year, how much should the grad students get?

More than a year after it adopted the Sixth Pay Commission scheme -- a deal that angered IIX full professors by giving them a 60% hike and back pay from January 2006! -- MHRD has decided that the grad students students also deserve a hike -- in the range of 11 to 33%.

HRD Ministry's sense of justice is as touching as its sense of urgency. We've got to admire its laser-sharp focus on making grad school attractive.


Students who graduate from the undergraduate B.Tech programme at the IITs with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of over 8, and those who clear the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering will now receive R16,000 a month during their PG research. They receive R12,000 a month at present.

PG degree holders in the basic sciences and students who have qualified in the National Eligibility Test will get R18,000 a month till their fifth year of PhD research. Students who hold PG degrees in engineering will receive R18,000 a month during the first two years of research and R20,000 a month during the next two years.


  1. chitta said...

    Hi Abi:

    While I strongly support a higher grad student salary, it should be noted that there was a big hike in their salary in 2007.

    See http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=29489 for the increase that happened in 2007. The salary for JRF/SRF went up to 12000 from 8000. I think the same happened for GATE qualified M.Tech students. So if you take that into account, now that it has increased from 12000 to 16000, the cumulative increase since 2007 is from 8000 to 16000 which is a 100% increase.


  2. Pratyush Tiwary said...

    I really like how the linked Hindustan Times article begins "pursuing postgraduate studies and research in the sciences and engineering is set to become more lucrative".

  3. Abi said...

    @Chitta: Thanks for that link. I knew about the previous hike in grad student stipends in 2007. But that itself came after such a long time!

    Here's the problem as I see it: Graduate student stipends do not have a built in adjustment for inflation, and so they normally keep going down in real value until a jump is announced. So, even though stipends have seen several jumps (say, in the last 15 years), their worth has been going down. [I'll try to get the exact details, which I don't have with me right now].

    In the meantime, faculty salaries have seen two jumps -- in 1996 and 2006 (implemented in 1999 and 2009, respectively); and this is in addition to the protection of their salaries against inflation in the form of "dearness allowance."

  4. Abi said...

    @Pratyush: "More lucrative," indeed!

  5. Rahul Siddharthan said...

    When I joined IISc in 1994, the JRF/SRF scales were Rs 1800 and 2100 per month respectively. Within a couple of years (1997 probably) they were revised to Rs 5000 and 5600 per month, which is where they remained until I left in 2000. So JRF/SRF salaries have gone up about threefold since 2000 and tenfold since 1994. I think that compares very favourably with how faculty salaries (takehome, i.e. post-tax and including DA etc) have gone up in the same timeframe.

    And both for students and for faculty, I think some are overpaid and some are underpaid. In other words, pay should be based on performance. For the average performer, the money is really very good in academia and unlikely to be matched elsewhere. But the best performers can easily earn much more in industry, if they choose to. To compete with industry, we need flexible pay, not more pay. I'm all in favour of reducing the "basic" pay, for everyone, but increasing the number of ways (via fellowships, projects, etc) that one can supplement that pay based on performance... Of course that is liable to "misuse" and discriminatory practices, but paying an older, non-publishing, non-teaching scientist more than a younger, active, world-class scientist, purely based on the circumstance of year of birth, seems just as discriminatory a practice to me.