Qarra speaks in the Lok Sabha, calls for release of fees of Kashmiri students

 
Taking advantage of the Zero Hour, I would like to bring the attention of this House to a very grave situation arising out of the order of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) whereby this unilateral order of withholding the fee amount sanctioned for at least 5000 students of Jammu & Kashmir studying in various colleges in India under the Prime Ministers Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS), has jeopardized their career.

Madam, you would be remembering that 2010 witnessed deadliest unrest in Kashmir when the State Govt. in chair did not hesitate to gun down around 120 unarmed young boys. And in order to evaluate the causes and reasons for such unrest, an Expert Group was constituted by the Prime Minister on 18 August 2010. The Expert Group had suggested facilitating higher/technical education for young boys and girls from Kashmir with financial assistance under PMSSS. The objective of this scheme was to provide tuition fee, hostel fee, cost of books and other incidental charges to students belonging to Jammu & Kashmir who, after passing Class XII or equivalent examination, secure admission in Government colleges/institutions and other select institutions outside the State.

The scheme was launched with much fanfare in 2011. In the first year, only 38 students availed the benefit but in 2012-13 at least 5000 students were admitted to various colleges of India.

Madam due to withholding of PMSSS to these students, the parents in an effort to save the career of their children are applying for loans on higher interest rates while some of them have sold their ancestral properties. Unilaterally with-holding of PMSSS has forced most of these students to leave their studies midway and return to their home. One student has told me that her parents sent him for nursing course under PMSSS. The course otherwise was unaffordable for him. However, the scheme has proved a damp squib and she is forced to rethink on continuing his studies as he has no source of income to pay the college fee.

She told me that her father is a laborer earning Rs 200 a day. “He often remains ill and there is no other source of income for us. How can I deposit lakhs of rupees in college as a fee now,” she told me.
Madam, colleges entertained students from J&K on the pretext that they would get fee and other expenses reimbursed from the MHRD under PMSSS. As the MHRD has not released the sanctioned amount, colleges are forcing the aggrieved students to either deposit fee or leave college.

Under the PMSSS, many low profile colleges, in blatant violation of rules, had enrolled scores of students from Kashmir for various courses to “usurp” the scholarship money. “These colleges preferred to enroll Kashmiri students under PMSSS after various local NGOs approached them with the assurance that Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) would pay their fees.

It is as such requested that Ministry of Human Resource Development may take the call and release the withheld
fees for all such students as per the stated policy so as to save career of thousands of Kashmiri students.

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