Barely 15 per cent of applications submitted by Scheduled Castes’ students under the post-matric scholarship scheme has been cleared by the authorities.
As on Wednesday, around 1.73 lakh applications were received online. Of them, 27,225 applications were processed and 22,710 applications cleared.
Out of about Rs. 13.58 crore sanctioned by district welfare officers, around Rs. 1.16 crore was disbursed to colleges – all in Tiruvallur district.
A senior official attributes this to a host of factors for the progress of approval of applications. Primarily, norms governing the scheme were changed this year and it took some time for officials concerned to have clarity on the revised system. It was because of this that there had been delay in disbursal of scholarship money. This will not recur next year, the official hopes.
Traditionally, only in the second half of the academic year, most such applications are cleared. The approval process would pick up momentum only now. By the end of next month, all pending applications would be scrutinised and those who fulfil conditions would be sanctioned the assistance.
The official also adds that it is quite possible that some district officials may not have updated information regarding approved applications or disbursal of scholarship money.
After the revision of norms in September, the office of Commissioner of Adi-Dravidar Welfare communicated to each and every self-financing engineering college, totally numbering 455 institutions, about decisions of the State government. The colleges were specifically told that at the time of admission, they should not collect compulsory non-refundable fee from eligible beneficiaries of the scheme.
About 3.34 lakh applications were received during 2011-2012 and 3.19 lakh applications sanctioned. A sum of Rs. 171 crore was disbursed, of which the State government’s committed liability was Rs. 118 crore and the Centre’s share covered the balance.
After the present All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) assumed office in May last, the scholarship scheme underwent some changes. The significant change was that the assistance money would cover compulsory non-refundable fee, as stipulated by the government-constituted Committee on Fixation of Fee for Self-financing Professional Colleges. Till then, the scheme covered only what was charged by the government and government-aided colleges.
Henceforth, the disbursal of scholarship amounts would be done through offices of Directors of Technical Education, Medical Education and Collegiate Education to colleges concerned for respective courses. Also, the annual income ceiling of parents of students was increased to Rs. two lakh.
Of about 1.73 lakh student-beneficiaries, around 49,000 persons have opened bank accounts. Student-beneficiaries of the scheme are encouraged to open basic savings bank accounts, as the authorities make remittances for maintenance charges to the students directly. [As for compulsory non-refundable fee to be collected from the students, the payment is made to the respective colleges.]
The official says that the department will pay focussed attention to this aspect so that all student-beneficiaries open the accounts.