NCSC president Vijay Sampla told reporters that the commission has sought an explanation from the state government as to why the money has not been paid to the colleges despite the Centre’s payment of dues. About 2 lakh students have dropped out due to this reason.
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) on Wednesday said that nearly two lakh students belonging to the Scheduled Castes category have dropped out of college due to non-payment of dues under the scholarship scheme worth nearly Rs 2,000 crore by the Punjab government. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann last week ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the post-matric scholarship scheme that came to light during the previous Congress government in the state.
NCSC president Vijay Sampla told reporters that the commission has sought an explanation from the state government as to why the money has not been paid to the colleges despite the Centre’s payment of dues. He said, “We have taken suo motu cognizance of the matter. There are many complaints from Scheduled Caste students that they are not being allowed in colleges as the government has not paid their fees.”
He further said, “In 2017 there were around 3 lakh SC students who benefited from the scheme and in 2020 this number has come down to 1-1.25 lakh. When we asked the state government, they said that these children have dropped out.”
Sampla said that a meeting was held between the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Punjab government on Monday to discuss the matter. He told, “It came to the notice in the meeting that there is no dues from the Center, while the state government has to pay Rs 2000 crore to these colleges. Where has the money that is due, gone.
Sampla said that the Punjab government has been asked to give an explanation by next Wednesday. The Chief Minister announced the decision to investigate the matter through Twitter. In a tweet, the Chief Minister has promised action against those who put the future of scheduled caste students at stake, saying that irregularities have been found in the release of funds to private institutions. Inquiry orders have been issued. Every penny will be accounted for.