The Central government has discontinued the aptitude test for the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVYP) from 2022 and merged the fellowship scheme with INSPIRE programme. This will, however, not affect the number of fellowships that were offered every year under KVYP, an official of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) said.
The Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) which was instituted in 1999, is a national program of fellowship in basic sciences, initiated and funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, to attract exceptionally highly motivated students for pursuing basic science courses and research career in science. The aptitude exam to select students was conducted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), followed by an interview.
There were 250 to 300 KVYP fellowships that DST used to offer each year and this number will not change even though the scheme has merged with INSPIRE programme. “There is no discontinuation of the fellowship, only the exam has been stopped. The fellowships still be offered, but under another programme,” the DST official said.
The aptitude test for the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVYP) was taken by nearly two lakh students each year. The decision to scrap the same was made at a “high-level meeting” held on June 1 to review KVPY.
The officer pointed out that the review on June 1 showed that the operational cost of the exam was too high. “It actually cost us more to conduct the exam than the value of the fellowships that were being awarded. So we decided to drop the exam and use the saved money towards awarding more number of fellowships. So in future we will start awarding more than 300 such fellowships,” the officer said.
Last year, a case was filed in the Madurai High Court in which an applicant had demanded that the exam be conducted, not just in English and Hindi, but in Tamil as well. In its observations in the case, the Madurai High Court had directed DST to conduct the exam in all scheduled languages under the Constitution. According to officials, conducting the exam in more languages would have further increased the operational cost of conducting the examination. The exam was postponed twice last year, due to the Madurai High Court’s directions.
“In any case, while a large number of students were taking the exam, not many were opting for basic sciences after. Students were using this national level test as a rehearsal for the IITs, for example. So the purpose of the exam was not being fulfilled. The exam should have been stopped earlier, but since INSPIRE (started in 2007) was still new, that was not done. There is no need for this exam, which will be a duplication of other exams that students take. So we decided to scrap the exam and subsume the scheme under INSPIRE,’’ said the officer.