Nine months after the Union government sanctioned Rs31.05 crore to the government of Maharashtra for awarding 48,500 scholarships to minority students, the students are yet to receive the scholarship money.
Though the money was sanctioned on March 31 this year, not a single student has received any money till now and the education department officials blame it on the failure of students to write the accurate bank account numbers on their forms.
Shaikh Nadeem Rasoul, the state coordinator of the Students Islamic Organisation’s (SIO) scholarships cell, said, “In June 2006, the Union government introduced post-matric scholarships for minority students. The objective of the scheme is to provide an opportunity to minority students from economically weaker sections of society to get higher education. Students whose family’s annual income is Rs1 lakh or less and who have secured at least 50% in their previous examinations are eligible to apply.
“The notification for the scholarships for 2011-2012 had been issued in September 2011 and an amount of Rs31.05 crore was sanctioned by the central government to the state on March 31 this year. However, till date, none of the students have got the money despite our repeated meetings with the directorate of higher education (DHE). Moreover, even the list of selected students was not put up on the DHE website till September even though students were informed about it in February.”
He added, “Ever since the money was sanctioned, we have taken up the issue with the director of higher education, PR Gaikwad, on many occasions. He has repeatedly promised that the money would be released soon, but to no avail. In June this year, we met the deputy secretary of higher education Sanjeev Kumar, and he claimed that he did not have the names of selected students with him. Now, the central government has invited applications for scholarships for 2012-13, but students are unsure whether to apply for renewal or as fresh applicants as the money under last year’s scholarship programme has not yet been received.”
Sayyed Naveed, a second-year BA student from Poona College and one of the scholarship students, said, “The post-matric scholarship site doesn’t open for hours sometimes. Apart from that, Pune as a city is not given in the list of cities to be chosen for your native city. As I have not got the money, my family has to pay for my studies, which has caused severe hardships for us.”
Gaikwad said, “There are several reasons for the delay. Firstly, in many forms, the students did not correctly enter their account numbers, while in some they failed to write down their account numbers altogether. This year, we have made a rule that forms which do not have the student’s account number will be rejected.”