The Maharashtra Congress on Wednesday slammed the Centre’s move to abruptly stop the pre-matric scholarships granted to minority students studying in classes from I to VIII.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, state Congress working president M. Arif Naseem Khan questioned the move of the government to terminate the pre-matric scholarship available to the minority students since 2006-2007 when the UPA was in power.
The reasoning for cancelling the pre-matric scholarship is ostensibly the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act under which the students now get all facilities and amenities, said Khan.
“However, the RTE is available only for government or aided schools, but what about the 50 per cent of the minority students who are forced to go to private or unaided schools? Plus, the pre-matric scholarship income limit is Rs 100,000, compared to Rs 800,000 for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students,” Khan pointed out.
Demanding restoration of the pre-matric scholarship, the ex-minister said its discontinuation would lead to increased dropout rates among children who would not be able to afford the exorbitant fees in private or unaided schools, thus depriving them of their basic right to education.
Moreover, Khan said the Centre’s notice came after the students’ families had completed various formalities to avail the pre-matric scholarship, and urged the PM’s intervention to rollback the move immediately.