Funds not disbursed under minority scholarship scheme: group

The Movement for Peace and Justice for Welfare (MPJ), a public movement, on Friday alleged inappropriate disbursement of funds under the Pre-Matric Scholarship for Minority Scheme, and the subsequent order passed by the Bombay High Court.

One of the petitioners on the issue, Shabbir Deshmukh, Mumbai District President, MPJ said, “We had filed a Right to Information request on this and gathered the data that showed, out of ₹378 crore available under the scheme, ₹204 crore was disbursed. Out of 81,06,505 applicants, only 18,71,074 were provided with the scholarship money.”

“There are a lot of technical glitches,” he said. “The applicants were first told they have to open a zero-balance bank account with Bank of Maharashtra. When the accounts were opened, the bank would impose its own conditions and say the account has no balance or needs to be linked with Aadhaar,” said Mr. Deshmukh.

Advocate Aniket Kulkarni, one of the petitioners and member of the Human Rights Law Network said, “The court has seen that while the Centre is willing to allocate money to this scheme, the issue is of coordination at the ground level. There has to be coordination at every level, and students have to be made aware of such schemes.”

Directing the issue to be resolved at the taluka level, a division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice N.M. Jamdar disposed of the public interest litigation on July 17. In its three-page order, the bench directed, “All the secretaries of District Legal Services Authorities in Maharashtra to coordinate with the Chairpersons of the Taluka Legal Services Committee and ensure that the committee is provided with the necessary data of students who have sought benefits under the scheme in schools in the taluka, for which the headmasters would furnish the necessary information. The secretary, Education Department of Maharashtra would issue the necessary directions to all headmasters to forward copies of the applications submitted by the students in their school to be granted benefit under the scheme.”

The court has also directed the secretaries of the District Legal Authorities to obtain a monthly report from the Chairpersons of the Taluka Legal Services Committees and to monitor the progress on pending applications.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:13:37 PM |

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