The unearthing of a scandal in the disbursal of scholarship amount to school students of Scheduled Castes in Namakkal district a few months ago has prompted the State Government to decide that the money would hereafter be transferred to the savings bank accounts of beneficiary-students.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa gave an instruction to this effect at the recent conference of Collectors and Police Officers, a senior official said.

As part of the Chief Minister’s direction, 2.5 lakh eligible students, studying in government and government-aided schools, would be covered. The basic savings accounts would have to be opened in banks so that the amount due to the students would be transferred directly. In case some students have SB accounts in post offices, they can also be covered.

Till now, the amount is transferred to the school concerned which, in turn, gets the amount distributed to the beneficiaries. It was at this stage that the scandal was discovered in Namakkal district. As many as 77 headmasters of elementary schools were suspended. The official said that a couple of years ago, a similar scam was reported in Tiruvannamalai district too with regard to the post-matriculation scholarship scheme.

As regards opening of the basic savings accounts under the new arrangement, the official says the choice of banks has been left to the students themselves. The State Bank of India has advised its branches to facilitate opening of the accounts for the beneficiary-students. But, some other banks are insisting on introducers and surety for the students to open the accounts. In the light of the Chief Minister’s instruction, the Collectors are expected to hold meetings of district-level bankers’ committees to thrash out any such issue, the official adds.

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