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Rs 7,200-crore scholarship plan for reserved class

Proposal is for class 9 to postgrad students of OBC, SC, Denotified tribe, EBC categories. Centre also proposes to link senior citizens with the scheme in the role of mentors, tutors. Both plans were considered at the review meeting of the sectoral group of secretaries chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 16, 2020, 07.20 AM IST
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Scholarship amounts will go directly to the students’ bank accounts.
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NEW DELHI: The Centre is contemplating a Rs 7,200-crore national scholarship scheme for the meritorious students (class 9 to the post-graduation level) belonging to the OBC, SC, Denotified, Nomadic and semi-Nomadic Tribe (DNT) and economically backward caste (EBC) categories.

The other proposal is a national action plan for the welfare of senior citizens. The aim is to engage senior citizens in mentoring and tutoring students for the proposed scholarship scheme, which has been tentatively termed as PM-Yasasvi (PM Young Achievers Scholarship Award Scheme for Vibrant India).

Both plans, officials told ET, were considered at the review meeting of the sectoral group of secretaries chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month. They are likely to get a go-ahead soon. The proposals may see the light of the day during the next month’s budgetary announcements.

The government has a plethora of pre-matric and post-matric scholarship schemes for SCs, OBCs, DNTs, EBCs and other disadvantaged sections. All the schemes have varying standards and outcomes due to the differences in implementation in states. In several cases, a merit-based process isn’t followed and renewals are complicated. The post-matric scholarship scheme dates back to 1944 and needs to be attuned to the present times, an official said.

After 2017, states were made responsible for 90% of the financial burden for running these schemes. This has adversely impacted their implementation, with funds often not reaching the beneficiaries.

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The Centre proposes to address these deficiencies with a unified scheme and raise central funding from 10% to a 60:40 Centre-state ratio.

The social justice and empowerment ministry has been tasked with absorbing all the existing scholarship schemes under PM-Yasasvi, which will select students on the basis of merit test to be held by June-July 2020. Around 85 lakh students are expected be awarded scholarship in the first year itself.

Scholarship amounts, which will cover tuition and maintenance fees of beneficiaries, will go directly to the students’ bank accounts, with some extra amount for additional study material. To ensure accountability, an online monitoring tool will be brought in to assess students’ progress, officials said.

It is estimated that the implementation of such a scheme will cost about Rs 7,200 crore per year against Rs 6,000 crore budgetary allocation for the current set of schemes.

PM-Yasasvi is being linked with national action plan for senior citizens to “unlock the potential of the older population of the country”. They may be paid by self-help groups and educational institutes or may opt to work as volunteers for this or other social causes.

It is estimated that the percentage of senior citizens will increase from 8.6% in 2011 to 19.1% by 2050.
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