Poor minority students deprived of scholarship in BiharApril 24th, 2008 - 3:54 pm ICT by admin
Patna, April 24 (IANS) Hundreds of poor minority students, mainly Muslims, were deprived of a central government scholarship in Bihar due to the apathy of the state government, activists of various Muslim organizations have charged. The scholarship was one of the steps taken by the United Progressive Alliance government after the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee recommended pro-active measures for the economic and socio-educational empowerment of minorities in the country.
The central government scholarship meant for about 5,430 poor minority students was allowed to lapse deliberately by the top brass of the state government, alleged activists of some influential Muslim bodies here.
The poor minority students were entitled to get between Rs.5,000 and Rs.12,000 per year as scholarship. But the total amount of Rs.50 million for this scholarship was allowed to lapse, they said.
One such was the post-matric scholarship scheme, for which the last date for submission of application forms was Feb 15, 2008.
“The response for the scholarship was tremendous as nearly 25,000 students applied for it. But the state government deliberately failed to send the application forms and the money lapsed,” said Arshad Ajmal, who runs Al-Khair Charitable Trust here that was engaged by the government to motivate students to apply for the scholarship.
He said the forms of the post-matric scholarship were to be submitted to the minority welfare department of the state governments.
The minority welfare departments of the states were supposed to make an entry of all these forms, prepare a merit list and then send it to the Ministry of Minority Affairs in New Delhi by March 20 so that the scholarship amount could be released by the end of the financial year March 31.
Another Muslim body, Bihar Rabita Committee, said except for Bihar, all the other state governments managed to do this within the stipulated time.
“Bihar could not do so even by the end of the first week of April. The irony is that all this happened despite repeated reminders by us,” a spokesperson of the committee said.
The committee said that despite the union ministry officials reminding the state government about the last date, the forms did not reach Delhi.
Official sources in the state minority welfare department told IANS that the forms were not sent despite the merit list having been prepared.
“We smell a conspiracy behind it to deprive the poor minority students of the central scholarship,” said M.I. Khan, director of the Indian Muslim Development Foundation.
Members of the Aqliyat Chhatravriti Morcha staged a sit-in here to protest against the denial of scholarship benefits to minority students.