Sunday, October 10, 2004

Dalit students fail to get promised scholarships

Sunday, October 10, 2004 (Patna):

Bihar government's scholarships, meant to be distributed among the Dalit students is the state, have been pending for years.

Sometimes these scholarships just lapse and the students remain deprived as they pass out.

Thrown out of gear
The academic life of a poor Dalit student, Sanjay Kumar, has been thrown out of gear, after he failed to receive his scholarship money from the government.

"We can't purchase books or any items as there is no money. Since I come from a Scheduled Caste background, nobody understands my problems," says Kumar.

There are thousands of students like Sanjay across Bihar, who are yet to receive any of the scholarship money promised to them.

What's worse, colleges refuse to understand the predicament they are in.

"The money for the scholarships is returned and we do not get anything," complains another student, Lalwant Paswan.

Erratic distribution
The state government's Welfare Department accepts that they are erratic in paying the scholarship money to the students, but they pass the buck to the Finance Department for not paying up on time, resulting in the backlog.

At present, nearly Rs 150 crore is pending with the government.

"Due to procedural delays and more than expected applications, there is a backlog. But we are trying to meet the demand from this year," says N S Madhavan, Secretary, Welfare.

But despite this, the state government has issued full-page advertisements inviting Dalit students to apply for the scholarship.

However, with the current state of affairs, no one is likely to take these advertisements seriously.

Source: NDTV, October 10, 2004

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