Politicians, activists slam Centre for discontinuing pre-matric scholarship

Around 1.65 lakh applications are submitted each year in Telangana

Published - November 30, 2022 11:04 pm IST - HYDERABAD

The Union government’s decision to halt pre-matric scholarships from classes I to VIII for students from the SC, ST, OBC and minority communities came under criticism from politicians and activists alike.

At a public meeting in Limbayat, Gujarat, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi said that the move will destroy the future of students from the marginalised communities, and Muslims.

“I condemn this decision of yours, Narendra Modi. You have taken a wrong decision which will lead to a reduction of educational opportunities for minorities,” Mr Owaisi said, even as he questioned the PM’s vision of sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas.

The Hyderabad parliamentarian criticised the Prime Minister for not following through on his statement of wanting to see Muslims holding a Quran in one hand and a laptop in the other. “By ending the pre-matric scholarship you have destroyed the future of these children. Why do you hate it when somebody wants to study? If a Dalit or a Muslim minority student wants to study, why are you afraid of them?” he said.

For the past many years, Mr Owaisi has expressed his opinion that pre-matric scholarships should be demand driven.

Hyderabad-based activist S Q Masood, who has worked to link potential beneficiaries with government schemes, described the move as arbitrary. He opined that the schemes were designed to fulfill educational needs of the marginalised communities.

“The RTE Act is not implemented by the government in its true spirit as government schools are running without basic infrastructure. The 25% free seats in private schools for the poor is also not implemented in many States. At this juncture withdrawal of scholarships can lead to mass dropout of the students studying in private schools,” Mr Masood said.

In Telangana, it is the Commissionerate for Minorities Welfare that deals with applications for the Centre’s pre-matric scholarships. According to a senior official from the Commissionerate, approximately 1.65 lakh students register each year. The scholarship is then given to around 60,000 to 65,000 students.

“The pre-matric scholarships are released generally in January or February. So far no communication in connection with the stopping of the scholarship has come to us,” the source said.

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