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Indian Graduate Students Protest Pay

Graduate students in India are protesting — including through marching, hunger strikes, and boycotting labs — delays to long-waited increases to their government stipends, ScienceInsider reports.

Currently, PhD students receive between $257 and $289 a month, depending on how far along they are in their studies. Those figures, Nature News adds, are supposed to increase to $401 and $482, but some agencies have delayed the rollout of those stipend increases.

"It means that in the same laboratory, if some students are [Department of Science and Technology] fellows and some are [Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD)] fellows, some will get the hike later than others. We don't want such divisions," Anindita Brahma, the general secretary of the student council at the Indian Institute of Science, tells ScienceInsider. 

The students also say that their receipt of their fellowship money is often delayed six or seven months, Nature News notes.

Some 200 students protested last week outside MHRD in New Delhi, and several were arrested, ScienceInsider says, before Smriti Irani, the human resources minister, promised to do something about the stipends. Irani asked for time to get back to the students and said he'd make the raises effective April 2014 and provide back pay.

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