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Cabinet approves transformatory changes in Post Matric Scholarship for Scheduled Castes

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has on Wednesday approved major and transformatory changes in the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC)’ to benefit more than four crore SC students in the next five years so that they can successfully complete their higher education.

The Cabinet has approved a total investment of Rs 59,048 crore of which the Central Government would spend Rs 35,534 crore (60%) and the balance would be spent by the state governments. This replaces the existing ‘committed liability’ system and brings greater involvement of the Central government in this crucial scheme.

The Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for SCs allows students to pursue any post-matric course starting from class XI and onwards, with the government meeting the cost of education. This initiative is to boost the GER (Higher Education) of SCs up to the national standards within the five year period.

The focus of the scheme would be on enrolling the poorest students, timely payments, comprehensive accountability, continuous monitoring and total transparency.

A campaign will be launched to enroll the students, from the poorest households passing the Class X, 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 Class X standards would be brought into the higher education system in the next five years.

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 states will undertake fool-proof verification of the eligibility, caste status, Aadhar identification and bank account details 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 central assistance which was around Rs 1,100 crore annually during 2017-18 to 2019-20 would be increased more than five times to be around Rs 6,000 core annually during 2020-21 to 2025-26.

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