Put on hold the decision to withdraw minority scholarship for students of classes 1-8: Stalin to PM

In a letter to Modi, M.K. Stalin says nearly five lakh poor students of classes 1-8 will be affected by the move and deprived of benefits; he asserts Centre’s stance on the issue goes against the principle of supporting the needy in their crucial years

Published - December 08, 2022 12:45 am IST - CHENNAI

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the abrupt withdrawal of the minority scholarship provided under the pre-matric scholarship scheme to students of classes 1 to 8 from the year 2022-2023, and urged him to put the decision on hold.

Nearly five lakh poor minority students of classes 1-8 in the State would be adversely affected and deprived of the benefits of the scholarship, the letter noted. In a letter dated November 29, the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs stated that the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, made it obligatory for the government to provide free and compulsory elementary education (from classes 1-8) to every child and, hence, only students of classes 9 and 10 would be eligible for the pre-matric scholarship scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Mr. Stalin pointed out. He said the stance went against the principle of supporting the needy in the crucial years of their education, and would affect all scholarships for children in classes 1-8.

The Government of India introduced the pre-matric scholarship scheme for minority students in 2008-2009. The minority students in classes 1-10 studying in government/government-aided and recognised private institutions are eligible for this scholarship if their parent/guardian’s annual income is less than ₹1 lakh, Mr. Stalin noted.

Under this scheme, a sum of ₹86.76 crore was sanctioned to 4,49,559 students from Tamil Nadu in 2021-2022, he added.

‘Dignified lives’

Education is the most effective tool for empowering the poor and helping them lead dignified lives, Mr. Stalin said, adding that multiple surveys over the years had demonstrated that minorities, especially Muslims, were lagging in education. This scholarship supports poor, underprivileged, and highly marginalised students to access quality education and, therefore, must be continued, he added.

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