The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, in its report tabled Tuesday, stated it’s “quite disturbed” by instances reported on the “alleged misappropriation” of funds below three scholarship schemes meant for kids from “underprivileged minorities” class. The report has assessed calls for for grants for 2021-22 pertaining to the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
The committee additionally beneficial that the ministry counsel state governments to attempt to attain out to a pattern dimension of beneficiary minority college students immediately to establish that they don’t seem to be being duped.
The report has come amid an ongoing investigation by the CBI and Vigilance Bureau of Jharkhand after The Indian Express in a collection of experiences final November unearthed pre-matric scholarship rip-off duping minorities.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs transfers cash for 3 scholarship schemes specifically Pre-matric, Post-matric and Merit-cum-Means via Direct Benefit Transfer to 6 centrally notified non secular minority communities.
On varied varieties of fraud surrounding the disbursal, the committee stated in its report that in one state, after enquiry, the fraud occurred on account of passwords leak by sure vested pursuits in addition to different loopholes. “Taking advantage of illiteracy or lack of awareness among parents and children of minorities is also exploited by such elements. While the Ministry representatives have always been claiming that the system is fail-safe…(and) cash transfers happening through DBT and similar measures — which are definitely the need of the hour — it is disconcerting for the Committee to observe that such instances of corruption happened,” the report stated.
The report stated “however minuscule” the proportion of misappropriation, it should have disadvantaged real beneficiaries and should have led to some youngsters dropping out for being unable to afford the college charges and different bills.
“During their evidence, the Ministry representatives informed the Committee about further safety measures under their consideration, for instance, preserving the files of scholarship-holder students for a period of 5 years, creation of an Aadhaar vault in coordination with MeITY… While the Committee desires the Ministry to plug all identified loopholes in the system…Ministry should also counsel the State Governments to try to reach out to a sample size of beneficiary minority students directly to ascertain that they are not being duped in the pretext of Government scholarships, and that they are actually in receipt, through DBT, of the full amount of the entitled scholarship money for the term, as approved against their names in the Portal,” the report stated.
The committee added that the banks ought to make sure that the accounts of scholars don’t get closed on account of non-activity. “Because some evaluation studies have shown that the scholarship money gets reverted also due to accounts being inactive/closed…The Committee reiterates that fraudulent activity by unscrupulous elements in schools, banks, NGOs… who find ways to circumvent the processes for their personal gains, must be stopped,” the report stated.