The Union government is now looking to commission an impact assessment review of three of its flagship undergraduate and postgraduate scholarship schemes for Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes, Denotified and Nomadic Tribes (DNTs), landless agricultural labourers and traditional artisans, two of which are scholarships for studying abroad.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is looking to study a sample of 2,000 beneficiaries of the Top-Class Scholarships for SCs, DNTs, landless agricultural labourers, and traditional artisans; a sample of 300 National Overseas Scholarship for SCs beneficiaries; and a sample of 100 beneficiaries of the Dr. Ambedkar Scheme of Interest Subsidy on Educational Loan for Overseas Studies for OBCs & EBCs.
The purview of the impact assessment will include measuring the socio-economic status of the beneficiaries; the problems in the design and implementation of the scheme; and to what extent availing of the scheme has changed the social status of the families of the beneficiaries, among others, according to a notification commissioning the study.
The study will also try to examine how many of the beneficiaries of these schemes have been able to translate it into gainful employment or entrepreneurship opportunities; whether availing of the schemes has resulted in higher social inclusion of their families and the variation of these metrics across States and UTs.
The study is to be conducted over a period of two months and a draft report is expected to be submitted to the government by the end of this year. The Ministry has approved the survey to be conducted in all States and UTs at the level of the institution, college and University.
Respondents can include beneficiaries, their family members and functionaries of the institute, college or University concerned, the government said, further adding that the reference period would be 2010-11 to 2018-19 for Top Class Scholarship, and 2014-15 to 2018-19 for the NOS and education loan interest subsidy scheme for OBCs/EBCs.
The Social Justice Ministry has already issued a tender notice inviting bids from third parties for conducting the impact assessment survey, with technical bids for the study set to open later this week.
This comes after the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment in March this year stressed that the government should be conducting regular evaluation studies of the scholarship schemes. As per the March report of the House panel, the impact assessment of the NOS and the Top Class Scholarship was last studied around three years ago.
According to government data, the Top Class Scholarship has about 13,955 beneficiaries from 2010-11 to 2018-19, the NOS has benefitted 500 beneficiaries between 2014-15 and 2018-19, whereas a total of 6,934 students have benefitted from the Interest subsidy scheme for education loans to OBCs/EBCs in the same time period.
For the Top Class Scholarship and the NOS, 30% of the funds and slots allocated have been reserved for women candidates who are eligible. On the other hand, for the interest subsidy scheme on education loans to OBCs/EBCs, 50% of funds allocated have been reserved for women candidates.