Monday, May 6, 2013

MHRD sits on Rs 1200 cr, JK students left in lurch

MHRD sits on Rs 1200 cr, JK students left in lurch

NGOs Misleading Aspirants; Minister To Take Up Matter With IGP

PM’S SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Apr 26: The special scholarship scheme announced by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2011 has triggered a fresh row in Jammu and Kashmir as Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) has not released the sanctioned amount of Rs 1200 crore for the effective implementation of the scheme.
 The delay in release of funds has put the career of hundreds of students from J&K, who have sought admissions in various colleges of the country, in jeopardy. Surprisingly, the J&K government has put blame on various NGOs operating in the State, who have lured the youth on the pretext of ensuring their admissions in various streams across the country without having any official mandate.  The development comes after Greater Kashmir had carried a story on April 26 that Prime Minister’s special scholarship scheme was in doldrums.
 Reliable sources said due to the lack of awareness, only 38 students availed the benefit of the scheme in 2011. “However, as per the data available with Union MHRD, over 5000 students from J&K have been admitted in various colleges under the scheme for the year 2012-13,” sources said.
 Surprisingly, Advisor to Higher Education department Prof Nisar Ali, while quoting the minutes of the meeting between Union Secretary for Higher Education Ashok Thakur and J&K officials, said only 663 students from J&K had availed the benefit of the scheme. “Thakur had stressed for creating awareness about the scheme following its dismal implementation,” Prof Ali said.
 Taking keen interest to ensure the implementation of scheme so that the career of hundreds of students is saved, Chairman National Commission for Minorities Commission, Wajahat Habibullah has shot a letter to MHRD. The letter dated April 22, 2013, shot to Union Minister of State for HRD Dr Shashi Tharoor, a copy of which is with Greater Kashmir, reads: “A group of representatives from J&K Peoples Forum met me and complained that though the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme was launched with much enthusiasm in 2011 and the Forum had done much to generate public awareness about the program. With 5000 students admitted in Medical, Engineering, and other professional undergraduate courses, funds from the MHRD have not been forthcoming despite colleges having provided necessary facilities of food, residence, books and education with an expectation that funds would be received.”
 The letter further reads that the delay (in release of funds) has resulted in “the break of public trust which the nation can’t afford particularly at this stage in the politically sensitive state of J&K.” “I hope, urgent action will be taken to release the funds to the concerned institutions forthwith, which will go a long way for respite of the large section of Kashmiri youth and their families,” the letter states.
 Another letter was shot by the Kerala MP PK Biju to Union HRD Minister Pallam Raju on March 14, 2013. “The undue delay in releasing the funds is putting the career of 5000 students at stake. The claims of fellowship are being repeatedly questioned by the concerned colleges,” reads the letter. “It is learnt that MHRD has not released the funds. I request you to release the funds to save the future of students.”
 Amid mounting pressure on the MHRD to release Rs 1200 sanctioned amount to respective colleges for students have been admitted, the Chairman J&K Peoples Forum, Nasrullah Shah said they met Union HRD Minister and stressed on the early release of funds. “We were assured by the Minister that funds would be released by May 8,” he said over phone from New Delhi. Shah said they have counseled at least 1800 students in 2012, who were admitted in various colleges of India.  Sources said there are scores of NGOs who are minting money from the students on the pretext of ensuring their admissions. “This has created confusion among the students and also casted shadow over the scheme,” they said.
 Talking to Greater Kashmir, Minister for Higher Education, Akbar Lone said no NGO is authorized to send students outside the State. “We are not responsible for any student who follows the advice of any NGO,” he said. “Some NGOs have been cheating students and demanding money. I will take up the issue with the IGP Kashmir, Abdul Gani Mir so that strict action is taken against the faulty NGOs.”

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