PMSSS for JK students

Miseries, delays & an uncertain future
PMSSS for JK students
"Beneficiaries of Central sponsored Scheme are yet to receive the scholarship amount even after several months and it has led to students fearing that they will miss out on their education." Special arrangement

BY NASIR KHUEHAMI

Jammu and Kashmir students enrolled under Prime Ministers Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) in different colleges across the country are facing immense problems due to non-payment of maintenance fees.

Beneficiaries of Central sponsored Scheme are yet to receive the scholarship amount even after several months and it has led to students fearing that they will miss out on their education.

Students who are beneficiaries of this scheme claimed that they are not getting full scholarship that was promised to them at the time of their admissions.

Students who are enrolled under this scheme are getting one lakh rupees annually. The amount is used for books, internet, hostel fee and other maintenance charges, but for the current session, the maintenance fee & the basic scholarship amount have not been paid.

The authorities did not cite any reason for non payment due to which the students are facing immense problems, since most beneficiaries of this scheme are hailing from marginalized section of society who don’t afford educational expenses.

Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme is a student scholarship offered by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). It is meant for the students of the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh region.

It was introduced with the main aim to economically assist and aid necessitous and poor students of these regions to pursue undergraduate studies in colleges outside the Union Territories.

Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme is a scheme under which the government selects colleges for the students after they apply and qualify for the scholarship.

The scholarship was started by Dr Manmohan Singh led Congress Government and thousands of Kashmiri students have got themselves enrolled in different colleges across the country over the years.

The students of the Union Territory are supported by way of scholarship in two parts namely the academic fee and maintenance allowance in higher educational institutions.

This allowance i.e. maintenance fee covers expenses like books, examination fees, travel, and rent. From some time students are now suffering badly as they are not getting scholarship on time. This leads students to dropping out of their colleges.

Fasial Ayoub, a first year student at Al Shifa College of Pharmacy Kerala said, “The AICTE – All India Council of Technical Education, Prime Minister Special Scholarship Scheme funds the students with maintenance fee and academic charges till the end of course. We get maintenance fee of one lac per annum ; fifty thousand each semester.

AICTE starts the academic session in month of August and we came into college on 24 November. First, we were told you will be given fifty thousand, but when we joined college we were given only twenty thousand instead of fifty thousand, due to which we have face economic hardship. I come from a economically unsound background.

I couldn’t have of thought of studying in the deluxe educational institution like at Al Shifa college of Pharmacy Kerala, which is far and away from my home. Being economically strapped I decided to take admission in the institution just because of PMSSS.

But to my consternation I am not being paid the maintenance charges which are due to me as per the scholarship rules, due to which I am facing an ordeal. I am running short of money and have nothing to pay as hostel charges and mess fee”.

“It has been five months since I am here in the college. Since then we have been given only one thousand as maintenance charges. It is hard to survive on thousand rupees for five months. I have to pay hostel fee , mess charges, library fee, buy books and stuff. I am caught in a very difficult situation; said Mohd Imran Mir who is pursuing Bachelor’s in Pharmacy in Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University Lucknow Uttar Pradesh.

“Due to withholding of the 30 thousand of our maintenance charges, we are facing adversities. PMSSS had given hope to indigent students like me to continue our higher studies, but the now we find it hard to make our both ends meet. Many beneficiaries of PMSS are stony broke. Owing to this now can’t even concentrate on studies”, said Saqib Mir another PMSSS Beneficiary.

Amin Hussain, pursuing honours in economic subject at Jamia Milai Islamia said, “Due the suspension of maintenance fee we are facing economic hardships. Impecunious students commonly find themselves in debt. we are supposed to get 50 thousand maintenance charges for one semester, which we didn’t get. As per AICTE since the academic session starts in November, we were supposed to get 30 thousand rupees in two installments - one of 20 thousand and another 10. I didn’t get either so far. Now we are being told you will be only paid 20 thousand”.

Students studying under this scheme are mostly living in private flats/rental accommodations where they have to make a yearly agreement with flat owners and have to pay rent for whole year whether they will stay there or not. Even others who are living in hostels have to pay hostel fee charges.

The students whose parents belong to marginalised sections and are working as daily wagers, causal labourers, labourers etc. are highly affected as the chance of drop out becomes high and it is a cause of stress to students.

Last week, a day-long workshop on “Prime Ministers Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) 2022-23 was organized by Amar Singh College, Srinagar in collaboration with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), New Delhi for facilitation and Document Verification Centres.

However responding to it, students who are already enrolled under the scheme expressed anger and questioned purpose of conducting such workshops when students are suffering as their Scholarship are getting delayed and thus putting them into immense hardships.

Students requested Prime Minister to keep his promise of not letting the youth of J&K suffer and release maintenance fee to PMSSS beneficiaries at the earliest. “The outstanding amount of maintenance charges of beneficiaries of PMSSS should be paid to us. The economic hardships should not come in way of students to pursue their dreams. We request authorities to lend students an attentive ear and solve this issue as soon a possible, they added.

When contacted AICTE over the issue, on why maintenance fee is not being disbursed, there was no response from any official despite repeated calls. Repeated mails to AICTE also remain unanswered.

Pertinently on Sunday, the Central Government extended Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for five years. This scheme has an annual budget of 180- 190 Crore implemented by All India Council for Technical Education. The term of this scheme was due to end last year, but the Centre decided to extend it for another five years for the benefit of students, said official from JK Administration.

Last week, a day-long workshop on “Prime Ministers Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) 2022-23 was organised by Amar Singh College, Srinagar in collaboration with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), New Delhi for facilitation and Document Verification Centres. However responding to it, students expressed anger and questioned purpose of conducting such workshops when students are suffering as their Scholarship are getting delayed and thus putting them into immense hardships.

In the given backdrop, students enrolled under this scheme said, that they have urged Government multiple times and sent them dozens of mails (to AICTE) to release their due amount, so that their needs can be met. But, per students they have received no solid response yet. Students also complained that their scholarships are being delayed and telephonic and grievances through mail are not being answered. We earnestly entreat the AICTE authorities to look into the matter and redress the grievances of students at the earliest.

Students requested Prime Minister to keep his promise of not letting the youth of J&K suffer and release maintenance fee to PMSSS beneficiaries at the earliest. The outstanding amount of maintenance charges of beneficiaries of PMSSS should be paid to us. The economic hardships should not come in way of students to pursue their dreams. We request authorities to lend students an attentive ear and solve this issue as soon a possible, they added.

When contacted AICTE over the issue, on why maintenance fee is not being disbursed, there was no response from any official despite repeated calls. Repeated mails to AICTE also remain unanswered.

Pertinently on Sunday, the Central Government extended Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for five years.

This scheme has an annual budget of 180- 190 Crore implemented by All India Council for Technical Education. The term of this scheme was due to end last year, but the Centre decided to extend it for another five years for the benefit of students, said official from JK Administration.

Meanwhile J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister for Education Dharmendra Pradhan for extension of Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) for Jammu and Kashmir students for another 5 years.

With thousands of scholarships available every year, scheme will provide opportunities to our youth to dream big and means to realise their dreams; said Lieutenant Governor.

Meanwhile, students who are already beneficiaries of this scheme did not seem to be jubilant, since, per students, neither AICTE nor GoI has done much to redress their grievances. The students wanted a hike in maintenance fee besides requesting the government to frame a policy for time bound payment of scholarship amount. “Without any solid execution plan, these are all rhetorics” said a student beneficiary of this scheme on condition of anonymity.

Nasir Khuehami is the National Spokesperson of the J&K Students Association.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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