‘Govt Won’t Fully Fund Higher Education of Minority Students’

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CHANGE IN THE AIR...A group of students at the Aligarh Muslim UniversityNEW DELHI, Feb 13 — The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre has made it clear that it won’t fully fund the higher education, technical and vocational education for the students of minority communities. In reply to a question, the Minister of State for the Minority Affairs Ninong Ering said in the Lower House on Thursday that there is no proposal under consideration to fully fund the higher education, technical and vocational education for the students of minority communities. However, the minister said students belonging to minority communities pursuing higher technical and professional courses in the listed Government Institutes are reimbursed full course fee, if selected under the Merit-cum Means based Scholarship Scheme.

This is contrary to the policy for students belonging to SCs and STs as they can avail all facilities without any riders for pursuing higher and professional education. Despite the Sachar Committee’s strong recommendation, the Merit-cum Means based Scholarship Scheme presently caters the need of less than 10 per cent of deserving minority students studying in professional and technical courses.

On another question, he told the House that besides Pre-Matric Scholarship, Post-Matric Scholarship, Merit Cum Means- based Scholarship, and Maulana Azad National Fellowship,  the central government has launched one  more scheme namely ‘Padho Pradesh’ for interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies for minority students. He said the government is running several schemes and programmes for the welfare and development of minority communities.

The Minority Affairs’ Ministry also launched a toll free helpline for providing information about the Schemes and Programmes being implemented by the Ministry. He said since it launched in August 2013, the Toll free Phone Line 800-11-2001 named KHIDMAT has received about 12263 numbers of calls from all the States/UTs.

In response to a written question on encroachments of the waqf properties, the junior minister informed the Lok Sabha that The Sachar Committee Report has advocated a stringent approach to counter encroachments and related matters in regard to wakf properties. The Sachar committee in its report, inter-alia, has recommended that the Public Premises (Eviction of unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 should be applied to remove encroachment from Waqf properties and arrears of rent, at market rates, should be recovered as arrear of land revenue. The Sachar Committee has also mentioned about the Waqf properties under occupation of the Governments and their agencies.

He stated that the Central Government is also proposing to bring standalone legislation on the lines of Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 to protect waqf properties from encroachment.  The Wakf Eviction Bill has been cleared by the Union Cabinet recently.

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