National panel summons Punjab C.Secy on scholarship scheme

With the failure of the Punjab government to reply on the hardship being faced for post-matric scholarship for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairman Vijay Sampla on Friday said the state Chief Secretary and two others were summoned for personal appearance in his office for June 17.

All the three notices issued by the commission to the Punjab government relating to the Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme being availed by the Scheduled Caste (SC) students went unanswered.

The notices were issued on May 25, June 7 and June 10.

The Chief Secretary along with the Principal Secretary (Department of Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities) and the Principal Secretary (Department of Higher Education) has been asked to provide action taken report and other relevant documents to facilitate the hearing.

“It is unfortunate that senior officers of the Punjab government are ignoring the notices issued by the NCSC, a constitutional body set up under Article 338 of the Constitution of India,” said Sampla in a statement here.

“As Chairman I am duty bound to secure the rights of Scheduled Castes and ensure that they get justice in all respects,” added Sampla.

He asked the state government that “if they have not done anything wrong in implementing the scheme, then why they are running away from replying to the letters issued by the NCSC”.

A day earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking release of the state’s pending amount and revised sharing pattern under the Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme for 2017-2020.

In his letter, the Chief Minister said though the Centre had, on December 31, 2020, amended the guidelines for the scholarship to introduce a revised sharing pattern between the Centre and the states (60:40), the same had been made effective only from April 1, 2020.

No decision had, however, been conveyed on the issue for the period April 2017 to March 2020, thus jeopardising the future of lakhs of Scheduled Caste students, he added.