The NCSC chairperson had alleged that around 2 lakh SC students dropped out of college due to non-payment of dues under a scholarship scheme.

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Following claims that two lakh Scheduled Caste students in the state were being forced to leave their colleges due to the non-disbursement of scholarships, Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit asked Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann for more information. The news comes a day after Vijay Sampla, chair of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, claimed that nearly two lakh students from the Scheduled Caste category had left college because the Punjab government’s scholarship programme, which cost about Rs 2,000 crore, was not being fully funded. Purohit wrote in a letter to the chief minister,

If true, it would be a great injustice to the SC kids and a most abhorrent violation of their fundamental rights. Sampla in Delhi reported that the commission had asked the Punjab government for an explanation as to why the money had not yet been distributed to universities despite the Centre has fulfilled its debts.

“We have suo motu taken notice of the situation. Students from South Carolina have frequently complained that because the government has not covered their costs, they are not being admitted to institutions. Around three lakh SC students benefited from the programme in 2017, but that figure fell to one to one and a half lakh in 2020. When we questioned the state administration, they informed us that these kids had quit school, according to Sampla. He had stated that the Punjab administration and the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry met to discuss the issue on Monday. In the meeting, it came to light that no dues from the Centre are there while the state government has to pay dues worth Rs 2,000 crore to pay to these colleges. Where has the money gone that is due,” he said.

On July 13, Chief Minister Mann ordered a thorough investigation into potential anomalies in the post-matric scholarship programme that had come to light during the state’s previous Congress administration.

Mayank Tewari


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