Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday wrote to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking release of the State’s pending amount and revised sharing pattern under the Post-Matric Scholarship for Scheduled Castes (PMS-SCs) for the period 2017-2020.
Capt Amarinder, in his letter, said that though the Government of India 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 1, 2017 – March 31, 2020, thus jeopardizing the future of lakhs of SC students,” he said.
The Chief Minister pointed out that in his earlier DO letters of October 2018 and February 9, 2020, he had brought to the Prime Minister’s notice the state’s concern regarding the outstanding demand under the scheme.
“An amount of Rs 1,563 crore for the years 2017-20 was still pending with the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for release as Central Share under the scheme,” he said, adding that no response had yet been received to those letters.
Pointing out that Punjab has the highest percentage of SC population in the country, the Chief Minister said that the State deserves special attention on this count. Further, being a border State, it needs to be ensured that its youth get the opportunity of education and employment so that they do not fall prey to anti-social and anti-national elements.
Therefore, non-release of scholarship funds under the PMS-SCs would adversely affect the education of SC students, who are unable to pay the fee from their own pocket, added Capt Amarinder.