‘Only Gujarat, Maharashtra has utilised funds for wards of scavengers’

Over the last decade, only Gujarat and Maharashtra used funds from the National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation to assist wards of manual scavengers to pursue higher education abroad.

According to information obtained through the Right To Information (RTI) Act by Madurai-based activist S. Karthik from 2011-12 to 2021-22 (till September 23, 2021), 43 students from Gujarat and two from Maharashtra benefited from the Corporation.

The Corporation, which is part of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, spent ₹5.76 crore for students from Gujarat and ₹30.90 lakh for wards from Maharashtra over the period. The aspirants applied for higher education in various fields, including engineering, medicine and research, in renowned universities and colleges in the USA, Europe, China, New Zealand and Australia, among others, the data show.

There was no beneficiary from any other State, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Telangana and Karnataka, which was baffling, Mr. Karthik said.

When there were over one lakh scavengers in the country, with higher numbers from metropolitan cities, it was shocking that none of the wards utilised the funds from the Corporation in a decade, he added.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Karthik said the Tamil Nadu government should conduct awareness programmes among students, especially wards of conservancy workers, in this regard. There were many bright students who belonged to the SC/ST community. Hence, the information should be disseminated to the stakeholders, who might take it up from the ensuing academic year.

The political class in Tamil Nadu, which spoke about empowerment, social justice and self-respect, should take such schemes to the needy, which alone would bring about a change in society. An awareness programme in government and Corporation-run schools would benefit students. Similarly, universities and government colleges — both arts/science and engineering — should conduct programmes about the finance schemes/subsidies for students, Mr Karthik said.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 12:40:21 PM |

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