The Ministry of Minority Affairs is all set to adopt a direct benefit transfer-based regime for its two key scholarship programmes, which cater to around 10 lakh students.
The DBT-based model, likely to be implemented within a few months, would cover the post-matric and the merit-cum-means scholarship programmes. The post-matric scholarships are given to students taking up undergraduate degree and diploma courses, while the latter scheme is to support those pursuing various undergraduate technical programmes such as engineering, architecture, pharmacy and fashion.
The ministry is aiming at an Aadhaar-based DBT model, however, a UIDAI number will be optional this time as the Aadhaar coverage is yet not complete.
“We are doing it because a lot of times when the money was given to the state government, it would not reach the students or there would be a delay. That is why we will now directly transfer to the students’ account. The Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana and Digital India plans will power our plan – everybody will have bank accounts and access to the Internet. We also want to move to the DBT model for pre-matric scholarships. Obviously, it is difficult to ensure primary school students have bank accounts and so the money will be moved to their parents’ accounts,” said Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla said. Around 40 lakh students receive the pre-matric scholarships every year.
The ministry is currently verifying around 10 lakh bank accounts as it has received 9 lakh online applications for the post-matric scholarships and another 1 lakh for the merit-cum-means. The process is expected to be over in two to three weeks, and students should start getting the money in their bank accounts soon after, sources said.