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Punjab

Posted at: Oct 12, 2018, 1:30 AM; last updated: Oct 12, 2018, 1:30 AM (IST)

New SC scholarship norms, state’s share up by Rs 720 cr

Capt Amarinder seeks review, asks Prime Minister to intervene

Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News service

Chandigarh, October 11

In a setback for the Congress government, the Centre has linked the release of pending grants under the SC post-matric scholarship scheme with the state’s acceptance of new norms that phenomenally enhances its share in the scheme. A grant of Rs 1,287 crore is pending for 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Under the new norms, the state’s share will increase from Rs 60 crore to Rs 780 crore annually. Around three lakh SC students annually enrol under the scheme.

Objecting to the diktat of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded a revision of the norms in the interests of the SC students.

Official sources said the ministry, in a communication to the state on September 13, had requested it to immediately convey its consent to the revised committed liability, as per the new norms revised on May 3. On September 28, the Ministry has informally conveyed that the pending grant would be released only after the state accepted the committed financial liability.

The state has pointed out that in the process of revising the norms, the Centre has indirectly absolved itself of contributing any money towards the scheme. Citing the new norms, private educational institutions have started demanding advance fee from the SC students, forcing them to hold protests for admissions and scholarships.

Apart from raising the issue with Union Minister of Social Justice Thaawar Chand Gehlot on June 15, the CM had raised the issue in the meeting of the governing council of NITI Ayog.

Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla, in the statement, said the scholarship amount released by the Centre was not being distributed among the beneficiaries by the state. “Though the Centre was ready to release the amount, the state was not furnishing the utilisation certificate of funds,” he said.

Sampla claimed that the Centre had released Rs 115 crore in April last year and Rs 327 crore in June this year, but the state had not given the money to the colleges.

The implications

  • The state has pointed out that by revising the norms, the Centre has indirectly absolved itself of contributing any money towards the scheme. 
  • Citing the new norms, private educational institutions have started demanding advance fee from the SC students, forcing them to hold protests for admissions and scholarships.

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