National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights issued a press release saying that It is reported that the PMS scheme is on the verge of being scrapped and to starve the programme of necessary funds. It is also a fact that in the states of Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Maharastra and Uttarakhand PMS is inordinately delayed. More states are likely to follow suit. This is a denial of education justice to the Dalits.
Post-Matric scholarship scheme is the only Centrally Sponsored scheme under SC and ST budgets (the erstwhile SCP and TSP) that attempts to bridge the growing socio-economic gap through Higher education. This is one the oldest schemes since 1944 and was a dream scheme of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to ensure education justice to the communities through financial support. This scheme covers more than 60 lakh students belonging to the poorest of the poor students across country, whose annual income falls below Rs 2.50 lakhs. Most of the other schemes are either notional or diverted and do not in fact reach the communities. Huge money, for instance, has been allocated for schemes such as Optical Fibre Cable based network for Defence Services and Compensation to Service Providers for creation and augmentation of telecom infrastructure, Construction of Jail buildings and Helipad and so on, which are hardly providing direct benefit to the communities. However, currently, this scheme is facing huge challenges to ensure timely disbursement of scholarship to lakhs of students across the Country.
Currently the Govt follows “Committed Liability” fixed for the plan period/Finance Commission cycle, the Central share has been reduced drastically after 2018 and it is from 57:43 between Central and State share in 12th Plan period to 90:10 share in 14th five-year plan, as a result of which maximum states are facing lot of challenges to implement it effectively, due to increase in the fund requirement to meet this expenses with their own resources.
The uncertainty of availability of funds has adversely impacted the States to implement this scheme for lakhs of SC & ST students. Moreover, with no adequate fund with many state Governments, there is two years delays in disbursement of scholarship in many States like Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and so on after 2018-19 onwards. Many states have been requesting to the MSJE (Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment), GoI, to release the pending due amount at the earliest considering the severe financial crises amidst Covid-19 Pandemic, but no response has been noticed from the Centre. This will however have serious impact on the educational goals of these marginalized communities in the days to come. Prof, SK Thorat, former Chairman of UGC affirms that PMS has been the single largest scheme which ensured crores of SC/ST students to reach higher education and in reducing the education gap and this must be continued.
Ms. Beena Pallical General Secretary of Dalit Arthik Adhikar of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, appeals to all the SC/ST unions, association and to all the rights bodies in the country to bring this demand to the Prime Minster and the concerned ministries.
We demand immediately on an urgent basis to ensure that, the Constitutional guarantee of Educational justice is provided to more than 60 lakh SC & ST students in the country forthwith.
1. Centre to urgently announce its commitment to allocate the necessary funds and continue the very important scheme to benefit 60 lakh SC/ST students immediately
2. ‘The committed liability’ system to scrapped and 60:40 share between Centre and State
should be enforced for PMS scheme with immediate effect.
3. Increase the Central allocation to Rs.10,000 crores per year to meet the PMS demand
to all eligible students to ensure due scholarship to 60 lakh SC and ST students.
4. PMS to be made accountable and to ensure the payment of all scholarship at the year beginning and not at the end or later. All eligible students pursuing Higher education should receive their PMS scholarship amount in every academic year at the year
beginning until they finish the course, once they get admission into the college.
5. Clear all PMS back-log to the students in all states
6. Increase the unit of monthly PMS amount based on CPI (Consumer Price Index) and
current and upcoming inflation to ensure that, the emerging need of education expenses are met properly
7. There should be timely grievance mechanism to ensure that, the rejected PMS application and delayed reimbursement be fixed to make sure that all eligible students receive their due scholarship at the end of every academic year.
8. Penal action to be taken against education institutions who discriminate and harass the students deliberately to make him/her deprive receiving scholarship.
9. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MSJE) and MOTA (Ministry of Tribal Affairs), GoI should establish a better monitoring system to ensure that, state Govt
demands are received timely and money released to their account on time.
“National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights”
For more information please contact Mr Adikanda Singh- 9205219784