Zilla Parishad was unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts. Cadet Om Bawiskar’s (in pic) father complained about the issue
Every candidate was supposed to get Rs 50,000; Zilla Parishad claims it is the total money to be distributed among the three selected; aspirants to get Rs 10,000 each

Story image for Scholarship from Pune Mirror

Parents of a bright National Defence Academy (NDA) cadet recently applied for the Rs 50,000 scholarship endorsed by Pune Zilla Parishad (ZP) to encourage praiseworthy candidates from the district. They were in for a rude shock when they received a letter saying they will be getting a meagre Rs 10,000 as opposed to the proposed amount. They were later told that the Rs 50,000 is the total amount to be distributed among aspirants from the district.

ZP clarified that the amount will be “equally” distributed among cadets, irrespective of the number of applicants. Curious parents then found out that there were three candidates selected for NDA 2016-17 vying for the scholarship. Even then, Rs 10,000 for each of the three was a miscalculation.

These parents knocked non-governmental organisation (NGO), Creative Foundation’s doors that looked into the matter. The NGO alleges that the letter sent to the NDA clearly says that the “candidate will receive Rs 50,000”. The organisation added that ZP’s education department flipped its words saying that total amount is Rs 50,000. They further claim that it is just an attempt to twist the meaning of the sentence that was originally in Marathi.

Cadet Om Bawiskar’s father, Ajay, had approached the foundation with his complaint. He has stated that Om was selected last year for NDA. According to the requirement, the NDA headquarters in Khadakwasla sent the list of three candidates — Om Bawiskar from Karve Nagar, Nikhil Goral from Chinchwad and Mrityunjay Rastogi from Kothrud who were offered Rs 10,000 each.

Bawiskar told Pune Mirror, “The letter sent to NDA nowhere mentions that Rs 50,000 is the total amount. The language suggests that it is meant for each selected candidate. ZP’s claims are illusory. We are not against the money offered. But, they should avoid such gimmicks.”

He added that in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab the candidates are rewarded with Rs 1 lakh. Bawiskar believes that such paltry encouragement to cadets could be the reason for less representation from state.

“We are yet to receive Rs 10,000. However, if Rs 50,000 was to be equally distributed among three people, every cadet should have received Rs 16,000,” he said.

Creative Foundation’s president Sandeep Khardekar attested to the fact that NDA’s letter did not specifically mention that the Rs 50,000 was to be divided among cadets. By looking at the disbursal, he said that it is a “typical approach” from the government officials.

“This is nothing but an attempt to play with the emotions of the young officers who are going to serve for nation. We have requested ZP’s chief executive officer (CEO) to clarify the confusion surrounding the scholarship. We have also urged them to provide Rs 50,000 each to the selected cadets,” he said.

ZP’s education officer Mushtaq Shaikh could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. However an education official, on the condition of anonymity, told Mirror, “Absence of words like ‘each’ or ‘total’ in the letter have led to the confusion. From this year the wording will be appropriate. We will send the communication to the CEO to increase the scholarship amount.”


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