Scholarships given to those who gave bank account details, claim officials

Lakhs of pre-primary, primary and high school students have not received their annual scholarships due from the Urdu Academy for the past two years, due to various reasons ranging from governmental apathy to unwillingness of banks to open zero-balance accounts for them.

Students across the State are yet to receive their scholarships for the year 2010-11, while so far there is no trace of the current year's scholarships either, school headmasters said.

Urdu Academy offers pre-matriculation scholarships from Class II to Class X, as well as post-matriculation scholarships up to Ph.D. level for all students studying with Urdu as language medium. For classes II to V, the annual scholarship is Rs.250, while for the students in Classes VI to VIII, the amount is Rs.600. Those studying in classes IX and X are entitled for an amount of Rs.800 by way of scholarships.

But, this is not happening for the last two years. “We ran from pillar to post asking for the students' scholarships, but to no avail. While the government has already sanctioned the grant, the Academy, for reasons best known to it, is delaying release of the same,” alleged Mohd. Masooduddin Ahmed, headmaster of the Government High School, Tega.

Grants of Rs.14 crore for the previous year, and of Rs.7 crore for the current year have already been released by the government towards scholarships.

While the scholarship amounts are to be credited to the students' bank accounts, Mr.Ahmed says many students do not have bank accounts as their parents cannot afford to keep the minimum balance. Officials from the Academy claim that scholarships are being granted to whoever is furnishing the bank account number and other related details.

Another hiccup is in the online application procedure which many students are not familiar with, and find quite cumbersome. So much so that the Academy had to issue application forms in hard copies to schools, and outsource the job of uploading the filled-in details online.

“My school has about 60 students of Urdu medium studying in Classes IX and X. None have received the scholarships either for the current year or for the previous year. When we approached the authorities, we were told that the residential school children are not entitled for the scholarships,” says Iqbal Mohiuddin, another headmaster from Ibrahimpatnam. The scholarships, nevertheless, were granted for the school in 2009-10.

When contacted, the Director-Secretary of the Urdu Academy Raziuddin Shakir said budget for the scholarships has been released only recently, and that the process of issuing them is still underway.

Scholarships for previous year could not be issued as many applications came offline, he said, and added that a letter seeking permission for the disbursement awaits government response.