By DCD Desk
The National Dalit Christian Watch (NDCW), a civil society organization, appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to continue Pre-Matric scholarship for the students of Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Communities (OBC), and religious minorities from classes 1 to 8.
NDCW was “deeply distressed to know that the Union Government of India has decided to stop the Pre-Matric scholarship for the students of SC, ST, OBC and religious minorities from classes 1 to 8 from the academic year 2022–2023,” Sister Manju Devarapalli, a Carmelite Missionaries nun who is the secretary of the National Dalit Christian Watch, wrote in her letter addressed to Modi.
“While the majority of Dalit Christians are poor and still struggling to come up in life both socially and economically that too mainly through education as a viable tool, this measure of dropping scholarship will certainly be a setback to their overall empowerment,” she said in the December 8 letter.
“Therefore, we appeal to you as prime minister to intervene and see that the scholarship scheme remains and continues to help Dalit Christians – minorities – for their socio-economic upliftment,” said Manju.
Recently, the federal government announced that scholarships need not be given to students covered under the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009, which makes it obligatory for the government to provide free and compulsory elementary education (classes 1–8) to every child.
Dalit Christian students bear the brunt of the decision. They continue to suffer from social discrimination as well as deprivation of educational support. The RTE Act makes it obligatory for the government to provide free and compulsory elementary education (classes 1–8) to every child in India.
The government explained that these students are covered under the RTE Act, 2009, which makes it obligatory for the government to provide free and compulsory elementary education (classes 1–8) to every child.
“Only students in classes 9 and 10 are now covered under the pre-metric scholarship scheme,” the government has said.
In the case of a pre-matric scholarship, the federal and state governments split the financial burden 75:25. A student is eligible if parental income from all sources does not exceed Rs. 2.50 lakh per annum.
Previously, it was available to 10 students from SC and OBC communities through the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, ST students through the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, and minority communities through the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
The amount was Rs. 225 per month for day scholars and Rs. 525 per month for hostel residents for 10 months in a year. Books and an ad hoc grant for day scholars cost Rs. 750 and Rs. 1,000 for hostel residents.
Applications of students from classes 1 to 8 for the pre-matric scholarship were rejected this year by the Ministry.
The federal government sent notices to all states and union territories that the Institute Nodal Officer (INO), District Nodal Officer (DNO), and State Nodal Officer (SNO) may verify applications only for classes 9 and 10.
All those working in the education sector and parents have opposed the move by the federal government.