New Delhi (NVI): The Union Cabinet today approved Rs 59,000 crore Post Matric Scholarship scheme for more than four crore Scheduled Caste (SC) students in the next five years, to successfully complete their higher education.
Making the announcement after the cabinet meeting, Union Minister Thawarchand Gehlot said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a total investment of Rs 59,048 crore for post-matric scholarship scheme.
He added that the Central government would spend Rs 35,534 crore (60 per cent) and the balance would be spent by the state governments.
In a official statement, the CCEA said, “This replaces the existing ‘committed liability’ system and brings greater involvement of the Central government in this crucial scheme.”
The Post Matric Scholarship scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme for scheduled castes, which allows students to pursue any post matric course starting from class 11 and onwards, with the government meeting the cost of education.
“The focus of the scheme would be on enrolling the poorest students, timely payments, comprehensive accountability, continuous monitoring and total transparency,” the statement said, adding that, a campaign will be launched to enroll the students, from the poorest households passing the 10th standard, in the higher education courses of their choice.
As per the estimates about 1.36 crore such poorest students, who are currently not continuing their education beyond 10th standards would be brought into the higher education system in the next 5 years.
The scheme will be run on an online platform with robust cyber security measures that would assure transparency, accountability, efficiency, and timely delivery of the assistance without any delays, the statement noted.
The states will do verification of the eligibility, caste status, Aadhar identification and bank account details on the online portal.
Under this scheme, transfer of financial assistance to the students shall be on DBT mode, and preferably using the Aadhar Enabled Payment System. “Starting from 2021-22, the central share (60 per cent) in the scheme would be released on DBT mode directly into the bank accounts of the students as per fixed time schedule, after ensuring that the concerned state government has released their share,” the CCEA said.
Furthermore, monitoring mechanism will also be strengthened through conduct of social audits, annual third party evaluation, and half-yearly self-audited reports from each institution.
The Central assistance which was around Rs 1,100 crore annually during 2017-18 to 2019-20 would be increased more than 5 times to be around Rs 6,000 core annually during 2020-21 to 2025-26, the statement added.