Ever since a financial scam hit the A.P. State Minority Finance Corporation, student scholarships have gone haywire. There are complaints galore about inordinate delay in the receipt of scholarships. At least 60 per cent of students are yet to get the scholarships for the last two years. Lack of coordination between the Minority Welfare Department and the Social Welfare Department (SWD) has put paid to the hopes of minority students. After the scam was detected last year, the government entrusted the responsibility of disbursing the scholarships to the SWD. This, however, has backfired, troubling students no end. Though the applications are routed through the APSMFC, the scholarships are sanctioned by the SWD.

Ever since a financial scam hit the A.P. State Minority Finance Corporation, student scholarships have gone haywire.

There are complaints galore about inordinate delay in the receipt of scholarships. At least 60 per cent of students are yet to get the scholarships for the last two years.

Lack of coordination between the Minority Welfare Department and the Social Welfare Department (SWD) has put paid to the hopes of minority students.

After the scam was detected last year, the government entrusted the responsibility of disbursing the scholarships to the SWD.

This, however, has backfired, troubling students no end. Though the applications are routed through the APSMFC, the scholarships are sanctioned by the SWD.

A major grouse of students is the difficulty in getting proper replies here.

Drop in applications

Another worrying aspect is the sharp fall in the number of scholarship applications. So far, the department has received 1.85 lakh applications for post-matric scholarships from minority students.

Of this, 1.48 lakh scholarships have been sanctioned. Meanwhile, the number of applicants from the BC community is 15.14 lakh, SCs 5.98 lakh, STs 2.07 lakh and EBCs 3.40 lakh.

And while Rs. 310 crore was budgeted for the minority post matric scholarships in 2013-14, the department has so far been sanctioned only Rs. 50.45 crore.

Under the tuition fee reimbursement scheme too Rs. 216.10 crore was spent out of the budgeted Rs. 320 crore.

“Receipt of fewer applications is a cause for worry. The budget will lapse if we don’t spend it in time. We need to reach out to minorities in a big way,” says Minorities Welfare Department special secretary Syed Omer Jaleel.

Officials attribute the fall in the number of applications to the present income ceiling limit of Rs. 1 lakh per annum for availing the scholarship. If the government raises the limit to Rs. 2 lakh as is done in the case of SCs and STs, more students would be eligible scholarships, it is said.

Budgetary support

The APSMFC had sought more budgetary support for the scholarship scheme, expecting the government to raise the income limit.

But now it is finding it difficult to spend the allocated amount.

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