Parl panel urges for strict monitoring of fellowship scheme

Wondering how Department of Social Justice awarded 2,000 fellowships when the expenditure for two consecutive years was at variance, a parliamentary panel has sought strict monitoring of the Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship scheme for Scheduled Caste (SC) students.

New Delhi: Wondering how Department of Social Justice awarded 2,000 fellowships when the expenditure for two consecutive years was at variance, a parliamentary panel has sought strict monitoring of the Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship scheme for Scheduled Caste (SC) students.

In its report tabled in Lok Sabha today, the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment said that against the budgetary allocation of Rs. 125 crore in 2012-13, Rs. 100 crore in 2013-14 and Rs. 200 crore in 2014-15, revised estimates was drastically cut down to Rs. 25 crore in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and Rs. 150 crore in 2014-15 under the scheme.

The actual expenditure was nil in 2012-13, Rs. 24.50 crore was incurred in 2013-14 and Rs. 148 crore was spent in 2014-15, the report added.

"With such a dismal performance, the Department has informed that all 2,000 fellowships have been utilised during 2013-14 and 2014-15 beyond the comprehension of the Committee. The Committee wonder how the Department was able to award all the 2,000 fellowships in 2013-14 and 2014-15 when the total amount spent was varied Rs. 24.50 crore in 2013-14 and Rs. 148 crore in 2014-15," the report said.

Expressing concern over the drastic cut at the revised estimates stage of such a vital scheme, the Committee has urged the Department to "strictly" monitor the scheme in co-ordination with the Ministry of Human Resources Development, besides the UGC.

"Ensure that the list of eligible candidates along with other necessary documents and utilisation certificates are forwarded to them in time so that deserving SC students get the fellowship and funds meant for the scheme are utilised optimally," the Committee stressed.