Pune: Nitin Gadkari Advocates for PhD Students’ Rights in Letter to Maharashtra Higher Education Minister

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Pune, 4th January 2024: In a move highlighting the challenges faced by research students in Maharashtra, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India Nitin Gadkari has penned a letter to Chandrakant Patil, Minister of Higher and Technical Education of Maharashtra. The letter addresses the inadequacy of funds allocated to research students compared to other states, emphasizing the struggles faced by PhD candidates in conducting scientific research on societal issues.

Gadkari underscores the hurdles faced by PhD students affiliated with institutions like BARTI, SARTHI, and Mahajyoti, citing the students’ claims of receiving insufficient support from the state government. The research students, despite their rigorous work on research articles and papers, allege a lack of aid in the form of scholarships.

The minister advocates for State-Sponsored scholarships for PhD students and suggests a relaxation of admission conditions, considering the complexity of the process. He argues that this strategic decision is crucial to increasing the number of Ph.D. holders in the state. Expressing urgency, Gadkari urges the state government to take a strategic decision promptly. He highlights the necessity of addressing the concerns raised by the research students to ensure justice and foster a conducive environment for those pursuing a PhD.

In his letter to Minister Patil, Gadkari emphasizes the need to reconsider the challenges faced by research students. The letter specifically calls attention to the burdensome admission process and the financial constraints hindering the progress of PhD candidates. Responding to the concerns raised by Gadkari, research students from Mahajyoti, Sarthi, and Barti have collectively demanded the cancellation of screening examinations. They seek the prompt disbursement of fellowships to alleviate the financial burden faced during their research pursuits.

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The letter follows controversies surrounding the cancellation of the PhD scholarship exam by BARTI, triggering protests. Similarly, the Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research, Training, and Human Development Institute (SARTHI) is facing protests over alleged irregularities in a recent exam, raising questions about the reuse of a 2019 question paper.

As the controversy escalates, candidates demand cancellation of exams and swift scholarship disbursement. BARTI’s decision to cancel its exam has added momentum to the students’ plea for fair and transparent examination processes.