In a big boost for the education of Scheduled Castes students, the central govt on Wednesday approved ₹59,000 crore post-matric scholarship plan, which is expected to benefit more than 4 crore SC students in next 5 years.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi paved way for significant changes to the Centrally Sponsored Scheme to help socially backward students complete their higher education.
Centre to pay around 60% of total scheme
The Cabinet cleared a total investment of ₹59,048 crore of which around 60% (₹35,534 crore) will be funded by the central government and the remaining part will be borne by the state governments. This will replace the existing ‘committed liability’ system and bring greater involvement of the Central Govt in this crucial scheme.
The scheme allows the Scheduled Caste students to pursue any post-matric course starting from class 11th and onwards with the Govt meeting the cost of education.
What scholarship scheme means for SC students
In a statement after the decision, the govt informed that the scholarship scheme entails enrolling the poorest students, timely payments, comprehensive accountability, continuous monitoring and total transparency.
The central government plans to launch a campaign to enroll students from the poorest households in the higher education courses of their choice after they clear the 10th standard. It is estimated that 1.36 crore poorest students, who discontinued their education beyond 10th standards will be brought into the higher education system in the next 5 years.
How govt plans to roll out scholarship scheme
According to govt, the scheme will be run on an online platform with robust cybersecurity measures to assure transparency, accountability, efficiency, and timely delivery of the assistance without any delays. Whereas, the state governments will undertake fool-proof verification of the eligibility, caste status, Aadhaar identification and bank account details on the online portal.
Direct Benefit Transfer of fund for students
Transfer of financial assistance to the students under the scheme will be on Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode, preferably by the Aadhar Enabled Payment System. The central government’s share of 60% will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of the students, after ensuring that the concerned state government has released its share.
The scholarship scheme has been in existence for many years. During 2017-18 to 2019-20, the central government’s assistance was around ₹1100 crore annually, which has been increased by 5 times to ₹6000 crore annually during 2020-21 to 2025-26.