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Punjab to oppose SC scholarship scheme

May 31, 2018 05:46 AM


Punjab to oppose SC scholarship scheme
Minister To Write Against Provision Allowing Institutes To Charge Students At Admission Time

Chandigarh: Punjab government is going to opposed the central government’s new postmatric scholarship scheme for scheduled caste (SC) students as it allows private educational institutes to charge tuition fee at the time of admission.

Punjab scheduled caste and backward class welfare minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot said such a provision in the new policy released by the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment was discouraging for economically backward SC students pursuing higher studies. “I am going to write to the Centre for bringing appropriate changes in the policy. From where will poor students pay the initial fee?” he asked. In the earlier policy, students were not supposed to pay any fee to institutes as it used to be paid directly by the state government. Dharamsot pointed some other “shortcomings” in the policy, to be discussed in a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The 100% centrally-sponsored, post-matric scholarship scheme is being implemented with effect from April 1. The policy reads, “The government of the state/union territory administration will pay the non-refundable fees and maintenance fees into the account of students. Incidental to above changes, ministry’s D.O. No. 14012/2/2010-SCD-VI dated October 6, 2010, addressed to principal secretaries/secretaries of all states/UTs regarding instruction to all private institutions not to charge any tuition fee from eligible SC students at the time of admission stands withdrawn.”

The policy says the state government or the UT administration will frame modalities regarding periodical and timely release of scholarship (including fees) to student’s accounts so that students can pay the fees to the institution on time and not be subjected to any penalties for late payment / non-payment of fees.

At the same time, the joint action committee comprising 14 associations of colleges across Punjab are also opposed to the new scheme on several counts. Punjab Unaided Colleges Association (PUCA) president and spokesperson of joint action committee Anshu Kataria said, “The joint action committee, which comprises more than 1,000 unaided education institutes, is going to convene a meeting on June 4 to decide the future course of action.”

He said the new scheme put the future of around 9 lakh SC students at stake. The new policy says scholarship payment and any other admissible allowances would be made by the state government directly to SC students’ accounts in post offices or banks after which the students will pay it to their institutes. It also provides for every state forming a fee-rationalisation committee for reviewing fee structures for various courses which are not otherwise covered by the fee fixation committee required to be constituted as per the Supreme Court’s directions

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