New Delhi: Around two lakh students from the Scheduled Caste category dropped out of college due to non-payment of dues under a scholarship scheme worth around Rs 2,000 crore by the Punjab government, the National Commission for Scheduled Caste said on Wednesday.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann last week ordered a comprehensive probe into alleged irregularities in the post-matric scholarship scheme that had surfaced during the previous Congress regime in the state.
NCSC chairperson Vijay Sampla told reporters that the Commission has sought an explanation from the state government on why the money has not been paid to colleges despite the payment of dues by the Centre.
“We have taken suo motu cognisance in the matter. There have been many complaints from SC students that they are not being allowed in colleges as the government has not paid their fees.
“There were around three lakh SC students who benefited from the scheme in 2017 and the number dropped to 1-1.25 lakh in 2020. When we asked the state government, they said these children dropped out,” he said.
Sampla said that a meeting was held on Monday between Social Justice and Empowerment ministry and Punjab government to discuss the matter.
“In the meeting, it came to light that no dues from the Centre are there while the state government has to pay dues worth Rs 2000 crore to pay to these colleges. Where has the money gone that is due,” he said.
Sampla said that the Punjab government has been asked to give an explanation by next Wednesday.
Mann had taken to Twitter to announce the decision for a probe into the matter.
I have received files pertaining to the release of scholarship amount during the previous government. Irregularities have been found in releasing funds to private institutions orders have been issued for a probe, the chief minister tweeted while promising to act against those who put the future of Scheduled Caste students at stake.
Account of every single penny will be taken, said Mann.
(Except for the headline, the story has not been edited by Siasat staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)