Centre revives SC/ST scholarship for girls

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CHENNAI: The Union human resource development ministry has revived scholarships to SC/ST children under the National Girls Incentive for Secondary Education(NGIGSE), scrapped due to a bank account fiasco. A January 25 TOI report had mentioned this.
In a letter (a copy of which is with TOI) to states, the HRD ministry said the circular on discontinuing financial support under the scheme introduced in 2008-09 by UPA-II to arrest dropout stands withdrawn. “The government has decided to redesign the NGIGSE scheme and the final decision or the shape of this scheme shall be decided shortly.”

State school education department sources said Canara Bank would no longer be involved in distributing scholarships and another leading public sector bank has been roped in for Tamil Nadu.

A group of dalit and tribal rights activists headed by S Karrupiah of Dalit Liberation Movement petitioned the government saying more than three lakh girls hadn’t received the scholarship of Rs 3,000 since 2008 and urged the school education department to take action.
“With the Centre reviving the scheme, we plan to resend the pending proposals within 15 days,” a senior official told TOI.

The TOI report had said the scheme, under the direct benefit transfer model, ran into problems three years ago when funds were delayed. Centre made states create zero-balance accounts for beneficiaries, and there was a two-year delay. Meanwhile, bank accounts were closed due to ‘inactivity’ and with no accounts to release funds, Centre took back released funds.
Besides, many beneficiaries lost out as authorities entered incorrect IFSC codes or bank account numbers thereby not allowing banks to transfer the amount directly into students’ account, as per government records accessed by TOI.
Under the scheme, Rs 3,000 was to deposited in a student’s account on completion of Class VIII with beneficiaries able to withdraw it on completing 18 years and clearing Class X.