The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (December 23, 2020) approved important changes in the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC)’.
Post Matric Scholarship scheme for SCs rules changed (representational image/File)
The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (December 23, 2020) approved important changes in the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC)’. The new changes will benefit over 4 Crore SC students in the next 5 years.
The Union Cabinet has approved a total investment of Rs. 59,048 Crore of which the Central Government would spend Rs. 35,534 Crore (60%) and the balance would be spent by the State Government. With this, the Union Cabinet has replaced the currently existing ‘committed liability’ system with greater involvement of the Central Government in this scheme.
The Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Castes allows students to pursue any post-matric course starting from class 11th and onwards, with the Govt meeting the cost of education.
In a statement, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) said that the Central Government was committed to give a big push and further impetus to this effort so that the higher education level of SCs would reach up to the National standards within the years.
According to the CCEA statement, the focus of the scheme would be on enrolling the poorest students, timely payments, comprehensive accountability, continuous monitoring and total transparency.
Scheme implementation strategy
The government will launch a campaign to enroll the students, from the poorest households passing the 10th standard, in the higher education courses of their choice. The government has estimated that 1.36 crore such poorest students, who are currently not continuing their education beyond 10th standards would be brought into the higher education system in the next 5 years.
The government will run the scheme on an online platform with robust cyber security measures to assure transparency, accountability, efficiency, and timely delivery of the assistance without any delays.
According to CCEA, the States will undertake fool-proof verification of the eligibility, caste status, Aadhar identification and bank account details on the online portal. The transfer of financial assistance to students under the scheme will be on DBT mode, preferably using the Aadhar Enabled Payment System.
From 2021-22, the Central share (60%) in the scheme would be released on DBT mode directly into the bank accounts of the students as per fixed time schedule, after ensuring that the concerned State Government has released their share.
The monitoring mechanism will be further strengthened through Conduct of social audits, annual third party evaluation, and half-yearly self-audited reports from each institution.
Earlier, the Central Assistance was around Rs 1100 crore annually during 2017-18 to 2019-20. It would be increased more than 5 times to be around Rs 6000 core annually during 2020-21 to 2025-26.