Chemical Sciences: A Manual for CSIR-UGC National Eligibility Test for Lectureship and JRF/About NET Examination
The National Eligibility Test ("NET") is the national level entrance examination for postgraduate candidates who wish to qualify for university level teaching jobs in India. It is administered by the University Grants Commission.
About the NET
The University Grants Commission ("UGC") administers the NET to determine eligibility for a lectureship and for the award of Junior Research Fellowships ("JRF") for Indian nationals in order to ensure minimum standards for the entrants in the teaching profession and research. The examination covers humanities (including languages), social sciences, forensic science, environmental sciences, computer science and applications and electronic science.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research ("CSIR") administers the UGC-CSIR NET for other science subjects, namely, life sciences, physical sciences, chemical sciences, mathematical sciences and Earth, atmospheric, ocean and planetary sciences jointly with the UGC. The tests are conducted twice in a year generally in the months of June and December. For candidates who wish to pursue research, a JRF is available for five years subject to fulfillment of certain conditions. UGC has allocated a number of fellowships to the universities for the candidates who pass the test for JRF. A JRF is awarded to the meritorious candidates from among the candidates qualifying for eligibility for lectureship in the NET Examination. A JRF is available only to candidates who opt for it on their application forms.
The test for a JRF has been conducted since 1984. The government of India, through its notification dated 22 July, 1988 entrusted the task of conducting the eligibility test for lectureship to the UGC. Consequently, the UGC held the first NET, common to both eligibility for lectureship and JRF in two parts, that is, in December 1989 and in March, 1990. National Eligibility Test (NET), Dec 2014 was conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE). But as per the latest news, due to work overload CBSE will not be able to hold NET from now.Henceforth NET exam will not be under CBSE hat.
Concept of SET/SLET
It was felt that an eligibility test at the national level may not be completely able to represent the subjects which are regional in their character. Moreover, the demand for enabling the candidates to appear for the test in their own mother tongue was also being made. The state governments and union territories were, therefore, given the option of conducting their own test for eligibility for lectureship at the state level. Thus was born the concept of SET, that is, State Eligibility Test for Lectureship Eligibility only. It is conducted both in English and the vernacular.
The Commission at its meeting held on 25 May 1990 decided to constitute a UGC Committee on Accreditation of Test (U-CAT). The terms of reference of U-CAT are as follows:
- Laying down guidelines for holding the tests.
- Laying down guidelines for holding the tests/CSIR.
- Monitoring of tests conducted by other agencies and suggesting follow-up measures.
- Extend guidance and help to State level agencies in the organization of the tests.
Based on the recommendations made by U-CAT, the following guidelines are given to the states regarding test design, course content, organization of the test, etc., for conducting State Eligibility Test (SET) for Lectureship only.
In accordance with the mandate given by the Government of India, the UGC, on request of State Governments, proposed to have the SET duly accredited by UGC for a fixed term. This state level test is based on the pattern of the NET conducted by UGC and UGC/CSIR for humanities, social sciences and science subjects respectively. The State Governments and Union Territories, which wish to conduct their own SET, are required to obtain accreditation from UGC from time to time.
Besides conducting the NET examination, the role of the NET Bureau is to assess and accredit state-identified agencies to conduct SET examination. The SET assessment is done by evaluating the performance of the state agency designated by the state government. The Certification of Accreditation is given to the state for a stipulated period of time.
Identification of State Agency
A State Government may identify an agency, which may be a University, or an examination body of repute or a reputed agency associated with recruitment of teachers for higher education.
States conducting SLET
Presently, SET/SLET is being conducted in the following states:
- Tamil Nadu
- Madhya Pradesh
- Andhra Pradesh
- Himachal Pradesh
- Jammu & Kashmir
- Uttar Pradesh
- West Bengal
- NE-SLET (Which includes all North Eastern states and Sikkim)
The Commission constitutes an Accreditation Committee from time to time to assess the performance of the states conducting the SET Examination. The Commission takes a final decision about any state on the basis of the Report of the Committee.
Scope of NET & SLET
Eligibility for Lectureship
Clearing of NET Examination confers eligibility for lectureship upon Indian nationals, i.e. the NET qualified candidates are eligible to apply for the post of lecturer in all Indian universities/Institutes/colleges. It was resolved in the UGC's Commission Meeting held on January 1, 2001 that for SET examinations scheduled in or after June 2002, the SET qualified candidates would be eligible for appointment to the post of lecturer only in the universities and colleges belonging to the state from where they have passed the SET examination. The status of SET was decreed to remain unchanged for SET examinations conducted prior to 1 June 2002, that is, the candidates clearing SET were eligible for appointment to the post of lecturer anywhere in India. National eligibility test is popular among lectureship aspirants as there is no upper age limit for assistant professor. Eligibility criteria for Junior research fellow(JRF) is distinct than assistant professor, upper age limit is 28 years. 
Junior Research Fellowship
The candidates who qualify the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) Examination of UGC/CSIR NET are also eligible for the post of lectureship. In addition they are also eligible to receive Fellowships (UGC/CSIR) under various schemes subject to the candidates finding their placement in the universities/IITs/other national organizations. The validity of the offer is currently within two years with effect from the date of issue of the JRF award letter. The validity period of the offer has been raised from one year to two years for JRF Award Letters issued on or after 1 May 2005. However, in case the candidates have already joined M.Phil./Ph.D. programs, the date of commencement of fellowship will be from the date of declaration of NET examination result or date of their joining, whichever is later.
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (SPM) Fellowship
To commemorate the birth centenary year (2000) of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, who was the first Vice-President of CSIR in the Independent India, the CSIR has instituted a special fellowship, namely, "Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (SPM) Fellowship" open to the selective CSIR-UGC JRF (NET) awardees. Around top 50 candidates in Life Sciences and Chemical Sciences and top 25 each in Physical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences & Earth Sciences from each of the two NET examinations conducted in a calendar year and GATE qualified candidates in the subject areas of NET with percentile score of 99% and above are called for interview. The eligible candidates are first screened by a specially constituted panel of subject-experts. The shortlisted candidates after first interview are further interviewed by a panel of SPMF Core Committee members and subject- committee chairmen for making final recommendations. It is the most prestigious fellowship given in India for doing PhD and a preferential qualification in recruitment to CSIR jobs.