Pre-matric minority scholarship gets govt nod

Pre-matric minority scholarship gets govt nod

K G Vanzara, a senior official in the social welfare ministry.

After the Supreme Court declined on May 6 to stay the Gujarat High Court’s February order upholding the constitutional validity of the Centre-sponsored pre-matric scholarship scheme for minority students (Class I to X),the state government has now decided to implement the scheme. The scholarship will be implemented from the current academic session,said

K G Vanzara, a senior official in the social welfare ministry. The state government will contribute 25 per cent and the central government will bear 75 per cent of the amount under the scheme.

The UPA government had launched the scheme in 2008 under the 15-point programme for the welfare of religious minorities. Under the scheme,poor students belonging to five religious minority communities – Muslims,Christians,Sikhs,Buddhists and Parsis – were to be given scholarships if their parents income didn’t exceed Rs 1 lakh annually. Each eligible student,under the scheme,is entitled to receive Rs 850 per year.

The state government had opposed the scheme on the ground that it discriminated against students of other religious communities and hence it was unconstitutional. But a five-judge bench of the Gujarat High Court upheld the scheme on February 15,saying the scheme was not unconstitutional and ordered the state government to implement it. The order was given after a PIL was filed by Bhuj-based Congress leader Adam Chaki. The state government subsequently moved the SC,challenging the HC order.