INSA cuts funds for awardees

Annual research, travel grants to go
Citing “continued limitations posed by the budgetary provisions from the Department of Science and Technology (DST)” the New Delhi-based Indian National Science Academy (INSA) has decided to “dispense with” facilities given to researchers who had won the Young Scientist Award given by the Academy. In a September 4, 2018, letter addressed to all awardees post 2014-2015, President of INSA Ajay Sood stated that the INSA council had decided to dispense with the three-year, annual research grant of Rs. 5 lakhs. The awardees will also no longer be eligible to participate in an international conference/workshop, and those who are not employed, will not get interim fellowship for three years, the letter says. The changes are being implemented with “immediate effect”, the letter adds.
“The awardee within five years of receipt of the Award will be considered for a visit abroad with full support for presenting research work at conferences, and/or participating in collaborative/training research projects, wherever possible,” the letter sent to an awardee reads. This is the reason why the letter mentions all awardees post 2014-2015.
“The cash prize of Rs.50,000 given to each Young Scientist has not been stopped,” says Prof. Subhash C. Lakhotia from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and Vice President (publications), INSA. Prof. Sood refused to comment on the issue saying: “The letter is self-explanatory. Based on the budget, the council had to take a decision. I have nothing more to add.”
‘No DST role’
Reacting to the decision, Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST told The Hindu,“The budget of INSA has not reduced.” He added, “The INSA is an autonomous body. What activity they want to fund is their decision. DST doesn’t tell what they should do.” Since 1974, the Young Scientist award is given annually to researchers in “recognition of notable contributions to any branch of science or technology”.
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