The government has brought in significant changes to the scholarship scheme for SC students.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved changes to the Post Matric Scholarship for students from Scheduled Castes.
- The changes are expected to benefit 4 crore SC students in the next five years in completing their higher education successfully.
- One of the changes is the change in share pattern for the scheme. Now, the Central government will provide 60% and the State government will provide 40%.
- Till now, annually, Rs. 1100 crore, an average of three years is being spent on the scheme. With the new changes, the funding will increase five-fold.
- Between 2017-18 and 2019-20, the Central government’s assistance was Rs. 1100 crore.
- Now, the central government’s assistance would be Rs. 6000 crore during 2020-21 and 2025-26 period.
- Under the revised scheme, the total investment will be Rs. 59,048 crore, of which, the center will spend Rs. 35534 crore.
- Under the scheme, the government provides financial assistance to SC students, whose family’s annual income should not exceed Rs. 2.5 lakhs.
- The scholarship will be for higher education at post-matriculation and post-senior-secondary stages.
- The aim of the changes is to increase the General Enrolment Ratio in higher education of scheduled castes and they would reach the national standards in the next 5 years.
- Also, the government is aiming to bring back SC students who dropped out of the education system due to financial challenges.
- Thus, the government will launch a campaign to bring back the SC students.
- There are an estimated 1.5 crore poorest SC students who dropped out of education after 10th and will be brought back to the higher education system in the next five years.
- States will undertake fool-proof verification of the eligibility and caste status, Aadhar identification and bank account details of each student.
- An online portal with robust cybersecurity will be in place for the purpose of registration to the scheme.
- One of the major changes brought is students will now receive financial assistance through Direct Beneficiary Transfer Mode.