PMs Scholarship Scheme: Students in lurch

Srinagar:  The beneficiaries of Prime Minister’s Scholarship Programme from Kashmir admitted in various colleges across India are getting sleepless nights these days.

Parents of scores of students from different towns of Kashmir Saturday staged a protest in Press Enclave Srinagar alleging that college authorities were forcing their children to vacate the colleges on the pretext that Ministry of Human Resource Development has refused to bear the expenses of these students.

At least 30 Students from poor families of Bandipore, Srinagar, Kishtwar, Kathua, Poonch, Doda, Pulwama, ,Anantnag Kupwara and Baramulla districts  were forced to leave their studies midway after All India Council Of Technical Education(AICTE) shot a letter to various colleges  directing management to return the scholarship amount already drawn in favour of  Kashmir students studying in various colleges. 

The aggrieved parents said that under Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme all but 23 students pursuing B-Pharmacy had been admitted in Shekhawati College of Pharmacy in Rajasthan last year. “A Kashmiri based NGO helped our children to take admissions in the said College but the irony is that the College authorities were now forcing Kashmiri students to vacate the College,” one of parents from Kupwara, Farooq Ahmed said.

The parents said that the scheme looks like a prank and it was started to play with the future of Kashmiri students. “The career of our children studying in the said college is at stake. The colleges entertained students from J&K on the pretext that they would get fee and other expenses from the MHRD. However the way College authorities are behaving this time has made the entire scholarship scheme a damp squib,” said a parent.

When contacted, Director, Shekhawati College of Pharmacy Rajasthan, G.K.Rastogi that the college incurred all the expenses on these students with a hope that HRD Ministry will pay it at a specific time. But, no funds have been provided to the college as was promised to it under the scheme.

The scheme was recommended in 2011 by an expert group headed by Dr C Rangarajan for encouraging the J&K youth to pursue higher studies outside the State. Initially, Rs 1200 crore were kept for the successful implementation of the scheme by the Union HRD ministry. The scheme provides Rs 30000 as tuition fee a year for general courses, Rs 1.25 lakh for engineering course and Rs 3 lakh for medical courses. In addition, the scheme would also cover hostel fee up to Rs 1 lakh a year.

It may be recalled that ever since its inception, the Kashmiri students pursuing different courses outside India regularly complained that college authorities are compelling them to pay fee from their personal pockets or leave the college. 

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