In a move to make higher education more affordable for the poor students, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved Rs 59,000 crore post-matric scholarship scheme for SC students.
The scheme will benefit more than four crore Scheduled Caste (SC) students in the next five years.
The Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Castes allows students to pursue any post-matric course starting from class 11th and onwards, with the government meeting the cost of education.
Out of a total investment of Rs 59,048 crore approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, the Centre will provide 60% — around Rs 35,534 crore — of the funds, while the remaining 40% would be spent by the state governments.
“This replaces the existing ‘committed liability’ system and brings greater involvement of the Central Govt in this crucial scheme,” the Union Cabinet said in a statement.
Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawarchand Gehlot also spoke about the Cabinet decisions in a press briefing.
#Cabinet approves Rs.59,000 cr post matric scholarship scheme for SC students in 5 years; Central Government would spend Rs. 35,534 Crore (60%) & the balance would be spent by the states. Central share would be released on DBT mode: Union Minister @TCGEHLOT pic.twitter.com/diS4Lk3lzo
— PIB India (@PIB_India) December 23, 2020
“The focus of the scheme would be on enrolling the poorest students, timely payments, comprehensive accountability, continuous monitoring and total transparency,” it added.
A campaign will be launched to enroll the students, from the poorest households passing the 10th standard, in the higher education courses of their choice.
“It is estimated that 1.36 crore such poorest students, who are currently not continuing their education beyond 10th standards would be brought into the higher education system in the next 5 years,” the statement said
The scheme will be run on an online platform with robust cybersecurity measures that would assure transparency, accountability, efficiency, and timely delivery of the assistance without any delays, the statement mentioned.
The states will verify the eligibility, caste status, Aadhar identification and bank account details of the applicants on the online portal.
Transfer of financial assistance to the students under the scheme shall be on DBT mode, and preferably using the Aadhar enabled payment system
“Starting from 2021-22, the central share (60%) in the scheme would be released on DBT mode directly into the bank accounts of the students as per fixed time schedule, after ensuring that the concerned state government has released their share,” the statement said.
“Monitoring mechanism will be further strengthened through conduct of social audits, annual third party evaluation, and half-yearly self-audited reports from each institution,” it added.