Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 23
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved changes in the Centrally sponsored scheme — Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC).
The five-year scheme will be in vogue from 2021-2022 to 2025-26. It will benefit more than four crore SC students in the next five years and help them pursue higher education.
“It is a consequential and transformatory change which will help uplift students among the poorest SC families,” Union Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said.
The Cabinet approved investment of Rs 59,048 crore of which Union Government would spend Rs 35,534 crore (60 per cent) and the balance would be spent by the state governments.
This replaces the existing “committed liability” system and brings greater involvement of the Centre in the scheme.
The PMS-SC allows students to pursue any post-matric course starting from Class XII and onwards with the government meeting the cost of education.
It is estimated that 1.36 crore such poorest students, who are currently not continuing their education beyond Class X, will be brought into the higher education system in the next five years.
Salient feature of the scheme is that starting from 2021-22, the Central share under it would be released on DBT mode directly into the bank accounts of the students.
The amount will be deposited from accounts of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to those of the beneficiaries as “per fixed time schedule”, after ensuring that the state government concerned has released their share.
Monitoring mechanism will be further strengthened through conduct of social audits, annual third party evaluation and half-yearly self-audited reports from each institution.
A campaign will be launched to enroll students from the poorest households passing Class X in the higher education courses of their choice.
The scheme will be run on an online platform with robust cyber security measures that will assure transparency, accountability, efficiency and timely delivery of the assistance without any delays.
The states will undertake foolproof verification of the eligibility, caste status, Aadhaar identification and bank account details on the online portal.