Mumbai: On October 20, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) gave notice to various educational institutions and colleges, asking them to submit details about scholarship money. The deadline for the submission of details was November 14, 2019. But very few of these institutions submitted the details, said sources.
As ED is considered a tool for ‘political pressuring’ by the Central government to settle scores with its opponents, this notice was not taken too seriously in Maharashtra. Also, as the state was witnessing high political drama that time, the ED notices went unnoticed.
But, Students Helping Hand, a group from Pune, led by Kuldip Ambedkar, was following the matter. According to Ambedkar, this is multi-thousand crore scam that has been going on since the past almost nine years.
As is usual, the social justice department of Maharashtra keep giving money to colleges and other educational institutions. The said money is for scholarships to be given to Scheduled Caste students. The scholarship amount is generally transferred to colleges and later the administrations of colleges give it to students.
Since 2018-19, the social justice department began online transfer of money. Then came the shocking details of scholarships in the open. In 2018-19, a total of 3,67,795 students applied for the scholarship. But, only 1,965 of these students received the scholarship money in their accounts.
"The online procedure has exposed this scam. We can imagine that if in the online process, only a handful of students are receiving the amount, during the offline period, no student would have received even a rupee of their scholarship. That's why, this needs to be investigated thoroughly," Ambedkar demanded.
The amount of total scholarship per year for SC students goes up to Rs 2,000 crore. There are multiple schemes for scholarships. The idea behind these schemes was to ensure that no students is left behind. But it has come to notice of Student Helping Hand is that many of these institutions do not give proper information to students.
Now, after a new government is in place in Maharashtra, Ambedkar has written a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray demanding that all students get scholarships on time.
"If institutions or colleges are hiding some information from ED, then the state government should take strict action against them. This scam is playing with the future of poor and backward students. I expect the new government to take a lead in this matter," said Ambedkar.