There is a failure on the part of the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department, responsible for the Post Matric Scholarship Scheme, in ensuring the adequate release of funds for the scheme, says former Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare secretary, Christodas Gandhi.

Speaking to The Hindu following the release of a copy of the Post Matric Scholarship Guidelines, Mr. Gandhi said that the State fell short in its role of monitoring the flow of funds to the districts.

The Finance department is undermining the scheme by failing to approve and allocate sufficient funds. Neither the Finance department nor the Adi Dravidar Welfare Department has ever undertaken an appraisal or a dialogue with Scheduled Caste students and activists on the functioning of the scheme, he said. The problem of late release of scholarships occurs even at the Secretariat level where fund allocation is made only after September.

There was no procedural hurdle in releasing funds at the end of the previous academic year, during the months of April and May, Mr. Gandhi pointed out.

He said the scheme was advertised in the media till 1998, a practice that has since been abandoned. However, the guidelines of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, under “Scheme of Post Matric Scholarships to the Students Belonging to Scheduled Castes,” clearly stated that “All the State governments should announce in May-June, the details of the scheme and invite applications by issuing an advertisement in the leading newspapers of the State and other media outfits.”

Violating those guidelines tantamounts to preventing the empowerment of Dalits, which is a form of discrimination, Mr. Gandhi alleged.

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