Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has urged the Centre to review the revised guidelines for the post-matric scholarship scheme for Scheduled Castes students.
Singh pointed out that “these guidelines amounted to the Centre indirectly absolving itself of contributing any money towards the scheme in Punjab…”
In a letter written to Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot, the chief minister cited the revised guidelines, dated May 3, 2018, received by his government to note that the move was highly detrimental to furthering the career prospects of poor SC students, who could not pay the high tuition and admission fees being charged by the educational institutions at the time of admission.
“Para XV of the guidelines had resulted in greatly enhancing the annual committed liability of the state government from Rs 60 crore to over Rs 750 crore, which was unsustainable for the state government,” the chief minister said.
The revised guidelines, Singh said, ended up defeating the very objective of the post-matric scholarship scheme for the Scheduled Castes and would only serve to put the SC students in a highly disadvantaged position, besides imposing an unmanageable financial burden on his government.
Some of the private educational institutions in Punjab had already started demanding advance fees from the SC students citing these new guidelines, the chief minister said.
He urged the minister to re-examine the revised guidelines and take necessary steps to safeguard the interest of the Scheduled Castes and share the financial burden of implementing the scheme.
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