Over three lakh students from various reservation categories in Maharashtra did not get scholarships even as the academic year comes to an end. Despite repeated follow-ups, the affected students and their educational institutes have failed to get their dues.
Lack of funds and a continuous software glitch in the scholarship portal are being cited as two main reasons for the deadlock. Over three lakh students from the underprivileged communities of schedule castes, other backward classes, denotified and nomadic tribes are anxious and disappointed.
“Several colleges have been unable to submit the students’ details on the government portal due to software problem even as the deadline was extended many times,” alleged several colleges.
The social justice and special assistance department which is entrusted with disbursement of the scholarships to over 18 lakh quota students in the state shifted the blame to the Centre.
Minister of the department, Rajkumar Badole told DNA, “We spent nearly Rs 2,900 crore this year to give feeship and scholarship to nearly 15 lakh students. However, three lakh students could not get their dues yet because of deficit of over Rs 300 crore in the scheme. The Centre has not released its full share.”
Badole claimed that the state received only Rs 43 crore in 2016-17 for the scholarship schemes as against its share of 50 per cent. He justified the delay by saying, “Same or even more number of students awaited scholarships till the end of the academic year in the past as well.” He further added, “Since the financial year ended in March, the pending applicants can be accommodated in the 2017-18 scheme.”
Incidentally, the same department is spending Rs 700 crore to establish a grand memorial of Dr BR Ambedkar at Indu Mill, Mumbai.
The blame game
The outsourcing firm hired by the government to make the scholarship application process online a few years ago is being blamed since the last four years for the chaos