Launched on Teachers Day in 2022, the Savitribai Jyotirao Phule Fellowship for Single Girl Child (SJSGC) attracted a 16-fold jump in the number of applicants after the Government extended the scheme for PhD aspirants beyond humanities and social sciences to include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) studies. The SJSGC was launched after revision of the earlier UGC scheme Single Girl Child Fellowship for Research in Social Sciences, which was open for scholars pursuing research in humanities and social sciences only.SJSGC received 1,144 applications, out of which the University Grants Commission has provisionally selected 1,129 candidates. A year before when the scheme was only for humanities and social sciences, it had received 67 applications. Apart from expanding the scope of studies, removal of the cap on the number of slots for fellowship is seen as another reason for the jump in number of applicants.About 60 per cent of selected candidates who also hail from remote regions such as Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Northeast, are pursuing research in science, engineering and technology. The awardees also include candidates from the socially and economically backward sections.UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said, This was initiated to increase the reach and benefits of the scheme. The rate of fellowship under the present scheme has also been increased from Rs 25,000 to Rs 31,000 per month as Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and from Rs 28,000 to Rs 35,000 per month as Senior Research Fellowship. Another prominent feature of the scheme is that UGC has removed the cap on the number of slots for fellowship. Now there is no limit to the number of eligible applicants who can avail themselves of the benefits under this scheme each year. This feature further enables the scheme to widen its reach and impact, and meet its objectives.