PM’s scholarship programme for JK proves to be damp squib
NSD Fiddles With Eligibility Criteria; Aspirants Cry Foul Play
Srinagar, June 18: A vital scholarship scheme of the Government of India, which was expected to benefit hundreds of students from J&K studying outside the state, has proved to be a damp squib for many aspirants. Reason: the National Scholarship Division of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has “summarily rejected” their applications citing “they are not eligible” for the scholarship.
The Prime Minister’s Scholarship Programme was expected to benefit at least 25000 students from J&K. The Programme came to the fore after it was recommended by a panel led by Dr C Rajgarajan, which was mandated to look into the issue of “rising unemployment” in the state. The panel was constituted in 2010 and recommended enhancing job opportunities in unemployment-ridden J&K, suggesting that the State should be given 5,000 free scholarships annually for five years beginning 2011-12. These scholarships, the panel said, should vary from Rs 30,000 to Rs 3 lakh per annum for the students.
However, according to sources, the scholarship applications of a number of Kashmiri candidates have been rejected by the NSD even after they submitted the requisite format prescribed by the concerned universities for the scholarship. The NSD, according to the aggrieved applicants, rejected their applications on the pretext that “only fresh plus two pass outs were applicable for the scholarship”—something which, they say, was not told to them at any point in time.
When the scheme was implemented in 2011, the Director National Scholarship Division, CPS Nonghulo submitted a memorandum to then Commissioner/Secretary Higher Education J&K Tanveer Jahan saying “This Scheme is being implemented from the academic year 2011 -12. The scheme may be widely publicized. A list of the students who have gone out of the State to study may be sent to the department, along with the name and address of the institute in which they are studying so that the scholarship could be remitted through the institutes.”
However, even after following the directions, the students’ applications with university-recommended scholarship pro forma were rejected by the NSD. “As per the guidelines of the special scholarship scheme for J&K 2011-12 the complete pro forma of the said scheme along with required documents of three Kashmiri students pursuing postgraduate courses in Botany, are enclosed with the application. Therefore it is requested that the above mentioned students be considered for the special scholarship scheme for J&K 2011-12,” a pro forma application of the Bundelkhand University reads.
Students who spoke to Greater Kashmir over phone said “We had applied for the scholarship out of enthusiasm and were looking for a promising future. But we are disappointed because our applications have been turned down for one of our fault. The scheme looks like a prank when your applications are rejected this way,” they said.
In September last year Union Cabinet had approved the program and the scheme was made applicable for courses in all Government Colleges/Universities, Engineering Institutions, Medical Colleges and some select private institutions to be identified by Government of India.
Pertinently, the then Commissioner/Secretary, Higher Education, Tanveer Jahan had told Greater Kashmir that students who were already pursuing studies in other states were also eligible under the program. “Any student from the State who has appeared in 12th class examination from State’s Board of School Education or equivalent, pursuing general degree courses, engineering and medical studies in Government colleges/institutes/other non-Government “reputed” institutes outside JK would be eligible for the scholarship,” she had said.
“The students will require applying with the Higher Education Division of HRD Ministry through the institutes in which they are studying and the union ministry will in turn reimburse the scholarship through the institutes.”
Commissioner Secretary had said “students will require submitting all the requisite documents to the college/institute in which he/she is securing admission which will in turn forward the list to the scholarship division of the Higher Education Department, HRD”.
Apart from Government colleges and institutes 51 non-Government colleges and technical institutes were also selected for the program.
An NSD official told Greater Kashmir over telephone that postgraduate level students were not applicable for the scholarship. “The scholarship scheme is only applicable for plus two and graduate level candidates,” the official said. “The problem is not with NSD. The state government should have already announced that the scheme is applicable to plus two and graduate level courses only, not postgraduate courses.”
Despite repeated attempts Commissioner/Secretary Higher Education Gazzanfer Hussain could not be contacted for comments.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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