Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 28
The Centre’s revised Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Caste (SC) students announced last week has put the Punjab Government in a catch-22 situation.
Failing to get around Rs 1,500 crore from the Centre under the centrally-sponsored scheme for three years, the state government last month announced the state-funded Dr BR Ambedkar SC Post-Matric Scholarship for 3 lakh students. It would cost the state around Rs 500 crore annually.
Applications have been invited under the state scheme. The state would pay 60 per cent of the scholarship amount for the past three years, while the remaining would be contributed by the respective college.
In a new twist, the Centre has now restored its scholarship scheme with a revised funding pattern, till 2025-2026. Now, the Centre will pay 60 per cent of the average demand for the past three years, while the remaining will be borne by the state.
“The states have been asked to send a formal acceptance of the new scheme by January 15,” said a senior government functionary.
Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said, “After the state announced its own scheme, the Centre restored its old scheme with reduced funding. It should have been a fully sponsored scheme.”
Dr Anshu Kataria, co-chairman of the Joint Association of Colleges, said, “The state should opt for the central scheme at the earliest to reduce its liability.”