New Delhi: Disappointed over the recent move of the BJP-led Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh making scholarship norms tougher for Scheduled Caste (SC)/ Scheduled Tribes (ST)/Minority, several dalit organisations, along with minority welfare associations,will hold a protest on October 12 across the state.
As per the new norms, students for the marginalised communities will get scholarships only if they secure at least 60% marks. Earlier, there was no percentage limit for scholarships for students belonging to these communities, with even those who did not pass annual exams eligible. However, while the scheme was previously only available for economically weaker students, now it will be open for all, according to officials.
Terming this an “anti-Dalit move” by the Adityanath government, Sushil Gautam, a dalit-activist based in Meerut told Newsclick, "Earlier, students from SC/ST communities used to receive the scholarship on the basis of the economic condition. Now the government has made 60% marks mandatory, “ adding that “the government claims they cannot provide scholarships on the basis of economic backwardness, but the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, the Act providing 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of General Category, came into effect on January 14, 2019. If SC/ST students cannot get scholarships despite securing more than 80% people, then how do upper castes deserve this scholarship?"
Gautam said “students belonging to the upper castes used to get 50% reservation earlier and will now get 10% more, But, students from our communities will have to score 60% marks. Isn’t this an anti-dalit move?” alleging that this was a “conspiracy against SC/ST students so that they can be deprived of getting professional courses."
Recently, the Adityanath government made 60% marks mandatory for scholarship and fee reimbursement payment to SC and ST students in professional courses in private sector educational institutions. If these students do not score 60% in the intermediate exams, they will not get any scholarship or fee reimbursement on admission in private sector colleges.
CRITERIA FOR SCHOLARSHIP
As per the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry's proposal of a "new fund-sharing pattern", the Centre will bear 60% and states 40% of the financial burden of the Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme for SC/ST students.
When asked, Meerut-based dalit activist, Satish Prakash, said, "For OBC (Other Backward Classes) and general category, it was mandatory to secure 60%, but this was not mandatory for SC/ST students. If we see the history of scholarship, it was started basically for SC/ST students because the government itself believed that the economic condition of these communities was worst,” adding that ”the dalits are now connected with the mainstream but their economic condition remains the same. The interest of dalit students in a professional course, like MBBS, BTech, MBA, etc has increased, but will now reduce."
Elaborating on the prevalent discrimination and inequalities, Prakash said, "Since the beginnning, dalits feel they will not get a good platform in the private sector as these sectors are dominant by upper caste people. Their social reform will only be possible after they get jobs in government sector. But, now, after making 60% mandatory will definitely reduce their interest in professional courses. Representation of dalits in the private sector is almost zero. So many private colleges have opened, but due to exorbitant fee, dalits can’t afford professional courses, neither are jobs guaranteed in private sector."
Meanwhile, Bhim Army has announced that it would also protest against the government move on October 11 across Western Uttar Pradesh