Chennai

Scholarship eludes Dalit students

After repeated protests, State government says Centre has not released funds

While educational scholarship to students belonging to the first generation and backward classes has been disbursed, Dalit students are waiting their turn. The delay could affect the prospects of 1.5 lakh students in the State.

Organisations working for the benefit of SC, ST students say that despite repeated representations to the government nothing has changed. “Every year students have to protest before they receive the scholarship,” said M. Bharathan, president, Ambedkar-Kalvi Centenary Movement.

Students suffer as the post-matric scholarship scheme is delayed interminably. According to him, since 2011-12, thousands of students have not received the scholarship. Each year that number has only increased. In 2012, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa issued a Government Order paving the way for free education of Dalit students. Yet, not once the government allocated funds for scholarship.

In 2014-15, the government should have allocated Rs. 1,147 crore in its budget for the scholarship. Instead Rs. 334.77 crore from the current year’s budget was allocated to tide over last year’s deficit, Mr. Barathan claimed.

“There was hope that the flow of funds for the scholarship would be smooth as a provision of around Rs. 250 crore was made. In around 100 colleges, more than 50 per cent of the admission was for SCs, but they were subjected to pressure during the semester exams as they could not pay the exam fees. This was because the government had not released the funds for scholarships,” said Christodas Gandhi, a retired IAS officer.

After repeated protests, the State government admitted that the Centre had not released the funds. “Unfortunately the trend is repeated in 2015-16 also,” Dr. Gandhi said. The budget estimate for the current year for the scholarship is Rs. 696 crore, sufficient only to pay the arrears of past years. The dues for the current year have not been taken into account.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:33:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/scholarship-eludes-dalit-students/article7643829.ece

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