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SC/ST scholarships: 50% should pass from benefiting schools

In an effort to keep a check on the malpractice by educational institutions over the various SC/ST Scholarships like post-matric scholarship scheme for SC/ST students and pre-matric scholarship scheme for SC/ST students, the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on Sunday has revised its norms for the same.

According to the new norms, educational institutions, covered under the centrally-sponsored post-matric scholarship scheme for Scheduled Caste students, will have to ensure that at least 50% of the beneficiaries are promoted to the next level, otherwise, they will be blacklisted from the scheme in subsequent years and can no longer apply for funds.

“There have been cases where educational institutes have pocketed a large amount of  SC/ST scholarships amount under the post-matric scholarship scheme for SCs by showing fake admissions. Or the educational institutions would admit students and get the scholarship amount and not teach them properly as a result of which the students would fail. The revised norms will put an end to such malpractice,” a ministry official was quoted as saying by a news agency.

As per the new norms, the ministry had made it clear that the mandatory payment of maintenance allowance and non-refundable fees will go into the accounts of the student beneficiaries only.

“The scholarship amount is released by the states and the practice so far was that the fees amount was being given to the institution while the maintenance amount was given to the students,” the official said, adding, “But it was noticed that the several private and government institutions swindled money by charging fees from the students.”

With the new norms, many new steps will be taken to bring more transparency. With the objective to ensure greater limpidity and to control duplicity and wrongful claims by institutions, there will be end-to-end processing in online mode and verification of eligibility credentials.

“The state governments and union territories will frame modalities regarding periodical and timely release of SC/ST scholarships (including fees) to the accounts of the students so that they can pay the fees to the institution on time and not be subjected to any penalties for late payment and non-payment of fees,” the official added.

Launched by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, this scheme provides financial assistance to Scheduled Caste students studying at post-matriculation or post-secondary stage to enable them to complete their education.

Manmath Nayak

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