On Monday, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has said that it hasn’t issued any directive to restrict that choice of research subjects as the government believes in the principle of freedom in research.

The HRD Ministry said in a statement that “Last year, there was a meeting of the Vice Chancellors of 11 Central universities, which were lacking in research. In the meeting, they presented a roadmap to improve research and also discussed the issue of more research on issues relating to national priorities. The minutes of the meeting were recorded.”

Clarifies its agenda on subjects for Ph.D., the statement reads that the government had given impetus to expand and improve research facilities.

As per the HRD Ministry statement, the government has offered Rs. 480 crores for social science research projects, under IMPRESS (Impactful Policy Research in Social Sciences), Rs. 450 crore under STRIDE for research in humanities, Rs. 1,000 crore under IMPRINT (Impacting Research, Innovation, and Technology) for technology-related research, Rs. 225 crore for research in basic sciences, and Rs. 480 crore under SPARC (Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration) for joint research with foreign universities in any discipline.

On Sunday, its reaction came in the wake of a media report that was carrying the headline of “HRD says Ph.D. only on ‘national priority’ topics, Kerala Prof quits”.

As per the article, Meena T. Pillai, who is a member of the Board of Studies of English and Comparative Literature at the Central University of Kerala, has resigned in protest against the administration’s order, directed all the departments to prepare “a shelf of projects” in link with “national priorities” for Ph.D scholars.

On March 13, the direction was issued, reads the article, adding that the circular was issued at the instruction of the HRD Ministry, which during the meet of VCs (Vice Chancellors) of Central Universities in December, had asked the VCs to “discourage research in irrelevant areas”.

Over the issue, Congress National Chief Rahul Gandhi had criticized the HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.

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