From 2014-15, State Higher Edu Deptt entrusted to facilitate admissions under PMs Scholarship Scheme: Zulfkar

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JAMMU: Minister for CA&PD, Ch. Zulfkar Ali informed the House that at present students from Jammu and Kashmir are provided scholarship for pursuing different Professional/General Degree Courses in various Colleges outside the State under Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme. He said the scheme was introduced in the year 2011.

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Replying to a Calling Attention Notice by Mr. Sheikh Isfaq Jabbar in LA here today, the Minister informed the House that the scheme is in vogue and has not been stopped by Centre. He said the PM’s Special Scholarship Scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development during the year 2011-12. The Minister informed that it envisaged providing 5000 scholarships per year (250-Medical, 250-Engineeering & 4500-General Degree Courses) with an overall financial implication of Rs. 74.125 crore.

He further said that in its first year 2011-12, only 38 students could get benefit under the scheme and consequently Union Secretary MHRD, requested the State Government to give wide publicity to the scheme so that the target of 5000 scholarships could be achieved. The guidelines of the scheme were further revised and admissions against two supernumerary quota seats, in the eligible institutes was introduced with effect from 24th August 2012, without disturbing the students who had already gained admission in various Universities/Colleges/Institutes up to 23rd August, 2012. Supernumerary quota seats were to be administered by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the applications for the same were to be compulsorily made online through AICTE website, he said.

The Minister said as a result 3340 students got benefited during the year 2012-13. In the same guidelines it was mentioned that the “Flexibility for deciding fees to be reimbursed for certain courses rests with the Inter-Ministerial Committee, within the overall ceiling”. Further, during the year 2013-14 the guidelines were further revised to the extent of including AICTE/UGC approved institutions and also relaxing the bunching criteria within the overall ceiling of Rs. 74.125 crore per year and a total of 3747 students were supported under the scheme.

He further said that however, a large number of students, especially from Kashmir valley were duped by some NGOs who promised them scholarships without taking into consideration the terms and conditions of the scheme notified in the guidelines for the implementation of the scheme. Various representations were received by the State Government as well as MHRD and the issue was taken up with the Criminal investigation department and Inspector General of police Crime Branch, J&K Jammu was requested on 24.02.2014 to register a FIR against the NGOs involved in duping the students. Pertinent to mention here, the role of the State Government till 2013-14 was restricted to giving wide publicity to the said scheme, he maintained.

The Minister said that in order to further streamline the implementation of the said scheme, the Government of India decided that 2014-15 onwards the entire process of admissions under the scholarship scheme would be administered by the ICTE through the process of counselling and the same was done during the month of August and September 2014 at S.P. College Srinagar and more than 2000 admissions were made. For the year 2014-15 the State government (Higher Education Department) was entrusted with the responsibility of facilitating AICTE throughout the process of admissions, right from inviting online applications through facilitation centers created in various Government Degree Colleges till the final counselling at S.P. College Srinagar.