N.J. Nair

Pilot project of online disbursal system has already been implemented

System expected to benefit 3 lakh students

To be extended to all districts soon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government is gearing up to implement an ‘e-grantz’ system to streamline the distribution of stipend and other monthly benefits to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OEC and OBC students.

A pilot project of the online disbursal system developed by the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT) has already been implemented involving 3,000 Scheduled Castes students in 50 post-matric educational institutions in Alappuzha district. A sum of Rs. 1.5 crore was distributed among students in three months.

To be replicated in other districts soon, the new system would benefit as many as three- lakh students from Plus One level covered by the welfare schemes being implemented by the SC/ST Development Department.

C-DIT Registrar K.T. Balabhaskaran told The Hindu here that the ‘e-grantz’ facility would render redundant the cumbersome procedures currently in practice, ending the inordinate delay in distributing educational benefits to students belonging to backward communities.

At present, educational institutions submit applications of eligible candidates with supporting documents to the District Development Officer for clearance. On securing the clearance, the institutions submit a bill to the district officer for approval.

Later, it is forwarded to the treasury and on getting the funds, the benefits are distributed from the educational institutions concerned. Any delay in getting the cheques will upset the disbursal of benefits.

As per the new system, institutions can send the list to the district officer online. After verifying the applications, the latter can issue an online clearance too.

Each institution would have to submit a monthly claim statement which would be forwarded to the SC/ST Development Directorate. The directorate will transfer the funds through State Bank of India online banking system.

While the stipend and monthly grants get credited in the students’ accounts, the tuition fees will be credited in the institution’s account. It has been proposed to issue zero-balance credit cards to the students so that they can draw the money without any delay.

Moreover, the treasury ban and other hitches would not affect the disbursal.

It has been proposed to seek the service of Akshaya Centres to prepare the online list of beneficiaries so that the institutions will be saved of the job.