Target of scholarship scheme for minorities exceeded

New Delhi: According to union ministry for minorities affairs, more than 34 lakh pre-matric scholarships have been awarded to the students belonging to minority communities in the first nine months (April to December) of the current financial year (2010-11). This figure of 34 lakh is much more than the target of 20 lakh scholarships fixed by this ministry for the entire financial year which ends on 31 March 2011. Pre-matric means students from classes I to X. According to this ministry, last year i.e., in the financial year 2009-10, the total number of scholarships awarded to students belonging to minority communities was 17.29 lakh.

For more than 34 lakh minority students the ministry spent about Rs 343.5 crore as scholarships during the first 9 months of the financial year. For the eleventh Five Year Plan period, i.e. for the years 2007-2012, government had provided Rs 1400 crores towards grant of scholarships to about 25 lakh pre-matric students of minority communities. Out of this amount, 30 percent i.e., Rs 420 crore had been reserved for girl students. It may be mentioned that the union minorities affairs ministry is implementing this scholarships scheme in cooperation with state governments.

Whereas the Central government contributes 75% of the total amount, state governments contribute 25%. As regards union territories, the entire amount of scholarships is provided by the central government. It does not, however, give a correct idea of how many Muslim students stand to benefit from this scheme because students belonging to minority communities not only include Muslims but also Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsees and Jains.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-28 February 2011 on page no. 5

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