New Delhi: Buoyed by the success of the post- matric scholarship schemes for Scheduled Caste (SC) students, the government is all set to increase its coverage for 48 lakh school children by end of this fiscal and has exceeded its budget for the purpose by more than Rs 100 crore.
The Post-Matric Scholarship scheme was introduced by the government to provide financial assistance to SC students studying at post matriculation or post-secondary stages to enable them to complete their education.
"It is a flagship program of the Ministry to ensure education foundation for the SC students in Post Matric level. We are taking further steps to increase its coverage in all the states," Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik said.
"Government had sanctioned Rs 2200 crore for the program but with some of the state governments showing keen interest for the schemes, we have already spent Rs 2303 crore and some more funds will be disbursed by the end of this month," Wasnik said.
While 15 percent of the beneficiary students under the scheme are hostelers, girls constitute a robust 37 percent of the overall coverage. With maximum funds of Rs 643 crore, Andhra Pradesh has topped the list of the states which have implemented the program followed by Uttar Pradesh (Rs 505 crore) and Maharashtra (Rs 316 crore).
Last year, the Ministry had released funds worth Rs 2097 crore.
"Our biggest success has been in roping in the banks and post offices for timely and regular disbursement of the scholarship money," Wasnik said, adding 14 states have confirmed 100 percent disbursement of the scholarship money through bank accounts and post offices.
Compared to the 10th Plan, the total number of students who were covered under the scheme were 26.43 lakh while the expenditure incurred by the government was Rs 927 crore.
To ensure wider student coverage in those states which have lagged behind, he said the Ministry is in regular touch with them to ensure better implementation of the scheme.
"There is constant monitoring of the scheme at all levels and we are writing to the state governments to ensure that our schemes have a successful implementation," Wasnik said.
Last month, the Secretary, Social Justice, wrote to the Chief Secretaries of some of the states such as Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir for the purpose.
States which have recorded more than 90 percent coverage under the scheme are Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, followed by Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal which achieved 80 percent success with the scheme.
First Published: Sunday, March 04, 2012, 10:30