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Saturday, February 4, 2023

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Saturday, February 4, 2023
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Punjab govt fails to release Rs 1,200 cr under SC scholarship scheme

Chandigarh, August 21: The Punjab government’s failure to release Rs 1,200 crore to colleges over the past three years starting 2014-15 to 2016-17 session as part of the Post Matric Scholarship (PMS) scheme for Scheduled Caste students has meant that students are being refused admission.

The most recent example of this was Guru Nanak College, Moga, refusing admission to 27 students who were not able to deposit the fee, even though they were eligible under the scheme. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (SGPC) runs this college. There are around 3 lakh SC students in the state.

MBBS seats
Representative image

Under the scheme, which was launched in 2007, SC students studying in post-matric classes are awarded a scholarship in which they don’t have to give any fee to study in a college. Students belonging to families with an annual income of not more than Rs 2.5 lakh can avail the benefit. In the centrally-sponsored scheme, the state’s contribution is just 10% to 15% depending upon the course.

Wanting a resolution to the issue so that the scheme meets its goals and private colleges can admit SC students, Joint Action Committee(JAC), an umbrella organisation comprising 13 different organisations representing over 1,000 unaided colleges held a meeting in Moga on Sunday.

“The Centre and the state governments must release funds immediately to the colleges for the benefit of all stakeholders,” a release from the JAC said.

Dr JS Dhaliwal, President of Punjab Unaided Technical Institutions Association (PUTIA), while addressing the JAC meeting said, “The government has not released funds. On top of it, colleges are also facing inquiries into how they used the funds under PMS. This is just another tactic to delay funds.”

He added, “With Rs 1,200 crore not being released, more than 100 college accounts have been declared, accounts of more than 100 colleges have been declared Non Performing Assets (NPA) and banks have started the process for proceedings for taking possession and auction.”

Rajinder Dhanoa, another representative said previously only farmers commit suicide due to no relief on loans in agriculture sector, but now the government is forcing educationists to start taking this extreme step. Recently, an ITI owner in Bathinda ended his life, as waited for the PMS grant from the government to pay off his loan.

“We, along with SC students, will be forced to come on roads to protest if the government will not release grants soon,” he added.

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