Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Jan 31:
The BJD government in the state has never tired of lambasting the UPA Government at the Centre for what it calls ‘step-motherly treatment’ to Odisha. But the accusation is not borne out by facts. If anything, they prove that it is the state government which should be accused of neglect and callousness and not the Centre.
In what constitutes the latest in a long list of proofs that the Odisha government has been economical with the truth, it has failed to furnish the eligibility list for fresh scholarship for 2013-14 and the renewal scholarships for previous years to the Centre even after repeated reminders sent by the Centre, thus depriving meritorious students of their rightful due.
The Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in the Union government has been running the ‘Central Sector Scholarship Scheme for College and University Students’ scheme since 2008. Under the scheme, 82000 fresh scholarships – 41000 for boys and 41000 for girls – are available each year. Each State has been allotted a quota of scholarships, Odisha’s share being 2736 scholarships.
But the Odisha government has not furnished the list of candidates to the Ministry even though the deadline for submission of the eligibility list was over two months ago on November 30, 2013.
“As you know, the academic year is drawing to an end, but still the list of eligible students for the academic year 2013-14 has not been received from your State Education Board, which has a quota of 2736 scholarships, despite regular follow-up from this Department,” said Ashok Thakur, secretary, MHRD in a letter to chief secretary JK Mohapatra recently.
“You will appreciate that in the absence of the eligibility list, we cannot disburse the funds to the students earmarked for this purpose. I, therefore, request you to issue necessary instructions to the Education Board of your State to immediately furnish the eligibility list for fresh scholarship for 2013-14 and also for renewal scholarships for previous years lest the students of Odisha are deprived of their due,” said the letter.
Mohapatra is likely to hold a meeting in this regard in the first week of February, said official sources.
This is one of the schemes included under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of the government. Under the DBT, scholarships are being disbursed directly into the bank accounts of the eligible students, as per the eligibility lists and bank account details provided by the Education Boards/Implementing Agencies. A Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS) has been devised for the smooth operation of the DBT and to facilitate retrieval of data.
In keeping with the guidelines and instructions relating to implementation of the DBT, the State Education Boards and other implementing agencies are to prepare digitized lists of eligible students and upload the same through CPSMS and transmit it to Programme Division of the HRD Ministry along with digital signature.