PM’s special scholarship scheme for JK in doldrums

Only 663 Beneficiaries Since 2011, HE Dept To Seek Extension

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Apr 24: The special scholarship scheme for the students hailing from Jammu and Kashmir announced by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has proved to be a damp-squib.  
 The dismal picture of the PM’s scholarship scheme came to the fore during the recent meeting of Union Cabinet Secretary for Higher Education Ashok Thakur and the J&K officials in Jammu. While Thakur, according to sources, sought reason for the poor implementation, the State officials pointed out a series of reasons for the murky execution of the scheme. “The State officials admitted their fault on the pretext that there was a lack of awareness among the youth. But they also stressed on a point that there was a well-connected lobby operating in various parts of India that was working hard to have the cake and eat it too,” sources said.
 Talking to Greater Kashmir the recently appointed Advisor to Higher Education department, Prof Nisar Ali said since the launch of the scheme in August 2011, only 663 students from J&K have availed the opportunity to get admission under the scheme. “As per the scheme, at least 5000 students were supposed to avail the benefit, every year,” he said. Prof Ali said the J&K government, especially Higher Education department has come to know that various “intermediaries operating in various States of India” have been luring students and finding ways and means to seek the benefits of the scheme. “This has led to delay in implementation. The number of students, who were supposed to get admission in one particular university or a college in any of the university, is also discouraging,” he said.
 Prof Ali said following the fresh development the J&K government has decided to write to Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry to seek fresh extension for another five years. “That way, we can accommodate more students under the scheme and also overcome the hurdles,” Prof Ali said.
 The special scholarship scheme was recommended by an expert group headed by C Rangarajan for encouraging the J&K youth to pursue higher studies outside the State. “Initially, Rs 1200 crore were kept for the successful implementation of the scheme by the Union HRD ministry,” sources said. They said the scheme was supposed to be revived every year. “The revision of the scheme means accommodating 5000 students in a year in various colleges and universities of India,” said a source.
 He said the scheme provides Rs 30,000 as tuition fee a year for general courses, Rs 1.25 lakh for engineering course and Rs 3 lakh for medical courses a year.
 “In addition, the scheme would also cover hostel fee up to Rs one lakh a year,” sources said. They said had J&K been able to cash in on the scheme since its inception, at least 15000 students should have been covered under the program.
 They said the Higher Education department is also looking into the reports that some fake NGOs and counseling centers were luring youth on the pretext of sending them to various colleges and universities, which has proved a hoax in majority of the cases. “It has been found that the scheme has been made a business by various agents, who sell seats to colleges after using influence at the state and national level,” sources said.
 “We will look into who is sending whom. The J&K government can only facilitate the admission of youth under the PM’s special scheme,” said Prof Ali.
 He said they are working out the modalities on how to streamline the admission process so that maximum students could avail the benefit under the scheme.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Apr 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Apr 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Apr 2013 00:00:00 IST




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