Around four lakh students from minority groups entitled to pre-matric scholarships in 2015-16, did not receive the financial aid as their names were not registered with the state.
This had happened despite an extension in time for application and making the process available offline for the convenience of students. According to a response to a Right to Information (RTI) plea by activist Razaullah Khan, the state should have received 7,17,896 applications for renewal going by previous year’s numbers, but only 3,30,776 applications were received.
More than 53 per cent did not apply for a renewal, according to data from the minority and adult education department. Khan, however, said the 53 per cent had not been registered due to failure of the application process and not because they had not applied. Earlier, the application process was online and students could enter their details onto the National Scholarship Portal.
The school-level scholarship — a part of the Centre’s 15-point programme for minorities — was introduced to encourage more children from minority communities to attend schools. Students whose parents’ annual income is less than Rs 1 lakh were eligible for a maintenance allowance of Rs 1,000, admission fee of Rs 500 and tuition fees of Rs 350 every month in a year. Only those with valid income certificates were approved for the scholarship. The amount was deposited to a zero-balance bank account through Direct Benefit Transfer once a year.
However, the process was made available offline last year after students from rural areas could not apply, owing to inaccessibility to internet. Now, the students could fill in their details in excel sheets in the schools and it was the responsibility of the education officers to upload the information on the portal. Khan said many students had not been registered despite applying because education officers had not uploaded the information properly.
However, Nandan Nangare, Director of Minority and Adult Education Department, said the process was having teething problems as this was the first time schools had to upload the data or submit it offline. “The problem will be solved in time,” said Nangare. The scholarship scheme has also seen trouble in implementation with many approved students not receiving the aid in their accounts. Nangare said this was because the account numbers and IFSCs provided by many students were incorrect.