Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved major and transformatory changes in the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC)’ to benefit more than 4 Crore SC students in the next 5 years so that they can successfully complete their higher education.
The Cabinet has approved a total investment of Rs 59,048 Crore of which Central Government would spend Rs. 35,534 Cr (60%) and the balance would be spent by the State Govts. This replaces the existing ‘committed liability’ system and brings greater involvement of the Central Govt in this crucial scheme.
The Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Castes allows students to pursue any post-matric course starting from class 11th and onwards, with the Govt meeting the cost of education.
The Central Govt is committed to giving a big push and further impetus to this effort so that the GER (Higher Education) of SCs would reach up to the National standards within the 5 year period.
Following are the details:
The focus of the scheme would be on enrolling the poorest students, timely payments, comprehensive accountability, continuous monitoring and total transparency.
- A campaign will be launched to enroll the students, from the poorest households passing the 10th standard, in the higher education courses of their choice. It is estimated that 1.36 Cr such poorest students, who are currently not continuing their education beyond 10th standards would be brought into the higher education system in the next 5 years.
- The scheme will be run on an online platform with robust cybersecurity measures that would assure transparency, accountability, efficiency, and timely delivery of the assistance without any delays.
- The States will undertake fool-proof verification of the eligibility, caste status, Aadhar identification and bank account details on the online portal.
- Transfer of financial assistance to the students under the scheme shall be on DBT mode, and preferably using the Aadhar Enabled Payment System. Starting from 2021-22, the Central share (60%) in the scheme would be released on DBT mode directly into the bank accounts of the students as per fixed time schedule, after ensuring that the concerned State Government has released their share.
- Monitoring mechanism will be further strengthened through conduct of social audits, annual third party evaluation, and half-yearly self-audited reports from each institution.
The Central Assistance which was around Rs 1100 crore annually during 2017-18 to 2019-20 would be increased more than 5 times to be around Rs 6000 core annually during 2020-21 to 2025-26.
[Press Release dt. 23-12-2020]