CLOSE TO 4,500 students from Jammu and Kashmir have reported at colleges across the country to pursue undergraduate studies under the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) — the highest in six years.
Of these, roughly 2,400 students are from the Jammu region, 1,474 from Kashmir and the rest from Ladakh, according to government data reviewed by The Indian Express.
Last year, approximately 2,500 students had taken admission under PMSSS and nearly 3,000 in the year before.
After the government’s announcement on August 5 to remove special status under Article 370 and split the state into two Union Territories, Jammu and Kashmir continues to face severe restrictions on communications and movement.
In August, the Supreme Court, on the state administration’s request, had extended the deadline for PMSSS scholars to report at their respective institutes by a month — from August 15 to September 15. The state had approached the apex court anticipating that students from the Valley may not be able to join on time because of the curbs.
On Saturday, authorities announced that post-paid mobile phone services would be made operational from Monday noon.
Of the approximately 4,500 students, the largest number (2,690) have taken admission in engineering programmes, followed by over 800 in general courses (BA and B.Sc degrees), 700 in nursing programmes and about 150 in pharmacy.
The largest number of J&K students this year are studying in Maharashtra, followed by Delhi, Punjab, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.
Launched in 2011-12 by the UPA-II government, PMSSS is a merit-based programme that offers admission to J&K students in colleges, institutes and universities across the country and pays for their tuition, board, books and other incidentals. It is meant to provide youngsters with a share of opportunities across the country and, consequently, remove the “sense of alienation”.
Under the scheme, 5,000 scholarships are offered each year to pursue undergraduate studies in areas such as engineering, medical, nursing, pharmacy, hotel management, agriculture, architecture and commerce.