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After Paddy Procurement Dispute, KCR & Modi Government Are At Odds Over a Dalit Scholarship Scheme

Telangana has not adopted the modified version of the Post Matric Scholarship for SC students developed by the Centre. Funds are provided directly to students rather than through states to institutions under the new approach.

Chintu Das
Telangana CM, K. Chandrashekar Rao
Telangana CM, K. Chandrashekar Rao

Following the paddy procurement controversy, the Telangana government led by K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) is at odds with the Centre over another significant initiative, the Post Matric Scholarship for students from Scheduled Castes to study in India (PMS-SC).

Telangana has chosen not to adopt the Centre's modified version of the scheme, which calls for funds to be delivered directly to students via direct benefit transfer.

According to reports, the Telangana administration is dissatisfied with the revised scheme and wants the funds transferred to institutions rather than individuals.

Previously, the central funds were given to the state, which would subsequently distribute them to the institutions.

However, due to anomalies discovered in several states, including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, the Centre modified the scheme in December 2020.

According to a top central government official, 32 lakh students throughout the nation would receive a total of Rs 2,200 crore under the revamped plan in 2022. Telangana is not included in this.

The Centre contributes 60% of the financing, with the rest coming from the state. The scheme consists of two parts: funding to pay tuition fees and an allowance to the students.

"The tuition fee is by far the most significant sum. "Under the new arrangement, students are expected to pay directly to the institutions where they are studying once they receive the funds," the official explained.

If Telangana does not agree, the state would lose roughly Rs 270 crore in annual central assistance, according to the official.

Officials of the state's Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) administration, on the other hand, indicated that while they had not refused to execute the scheme, they had been told of the changes "very late" and hence are not implementing it.

Concerns About Students Misusing Funds And a Greater Dropout Rate

"We did not reject to execute the amended scheme," said Rahul Bojja, secretary in the Telangana Chief Minister's Office. We didn't find out about the changes until the last minute, and the deadline was March 31. The Indian government wants it completed by March 31. We did enter information into the central database."

"The reason we (the state government) haven't implemented it yet is because we (the state government) haven't discussed the benefits and drawbacks of the updated system, as well as the ramifications of immediately depositing funds into students' accounts," he added.

Bojja noted a number of potential consequences, including students diverting the money for anything else, the dropout rate rising, and institutions refusing to admit students until they pay the whole amount.

He further stated that the state government is allocating Rs 450 crore from the budget to maintain the old scheme without the help of the central government.

In February of this year, senior officials from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment met with the state's chief secretary to explore how to get the Telangana administration on board.

"The chief minister appeared determined about not sending the funds directly to the students," a senior central government official stated. They expressed concern that students may refuse to pay over the funds to the institutions."

"To remedy this, the ministry told the state government that as soon as funds are moved to the students' accounts, the institutions would get notification, allowing them to contact them," the source added.

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