Minority Scholarships ‘Too Little, Too Late’ by Faisal Hashmi (OCTOBER 11, 2007)

The Government of India is working out a scholarship scheme for students of minority communities who have completed matriculation. It will help such students to avail of opportunities of higher education by achieving qualifying marks for institutions of higher education. It is hoped to help them in getting better placements in the job market.

Formulated by the ministry for minority affairs it has been forwarded to the Planning Commission for approval. The scholarships will be awarded to students of underprivileged sections of the minority communities. An amount of Rs 7000 (yearly stipend) has been proposed for students of 11th and 12th and is applicable to both boarders and day scholars. If the students are pursuing some technical or vocational course they will be given Rs 10,000 each year.

An additional monthly amount of Rs 235 to Rs 355 and Rs 330 to Rs 510 will be given to the students of 10th and 11th standards and M.Phil and Ph.D. respectively. Scholarship will also be awarded to the students of class 10th. Remarkably, 30 percent of the scholarship is allotted for girl students from minority communities.

There is also an amount stipulated for residential schools recognised by the government.

The aspirant awardees are supposed to score more than 50 percent in the last examination. The scholarship will be awarded to those students who parents’ yearly income is not more than Rs 2 lakh. Two percent of the budget has been allocated for general and administrative expenses.

During the 11th Plan, it has been proposed to award scholarship to 15 lakh students. The central government will provide Rs 1998.74 crore of the corpus. In 2007-08, the scholarships will be awarded to 75,000 students for which Rs 100 crore has been allocated.

The general secretary of All India Milli Council Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam has welcomed the government initiative. In a press release, however, he added the caveat that it was too little, too late.



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