No reduction in scholarship amount for ST & SC students: CM

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 8 (PTI) In the face of strong protest from opposition political parties and students, Odisha government on Sunday decided not to slash the post-matric scholarship amount for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes students.

'There will be no change in the amount of post-matric scholarship for SC & ST students,' Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement.

Patnaik said the students will continue to get the same amount of scholarship as they availed in the previous academic year.

The chief minister also asked the department of ST and SC Development to put the notification issued by it on hold.

The department was also ordered to send the official file in regard to slashing the scholarship amount to the Chief Minister's Office for further verification.

With the decision, there will be no change in post- matric scholarship amount being sanctioned for the SC/ST students in Odisha, an official said.

Earlier, the department in a resolution had announced its decision to reduce the post-matric scholarship amount for ST and SC students in at least 15 courses including, B Tech and MBA.

However, the department had decided to increase the number of courses to be covered under the programme from existing 27 to 99 in the 2020-21 academic session.

As per the resolution of ST and SC development department, an eligible student of ST or SC community was supposed to get Rs 25,000 scholarship for B Tech course in the new academic session against the previous allocation of Rs 60,000 in previous academic sessions.

The students belonging to ST and SC communities are entitled to get scholarship for pursuing higher education in any government and government-recognised private college and institution if their family income is below Rs 2.5 lakh per annum.

While the Opposition Congress had condemned the state government's act of reducing the scholarship amount, the Odisha Private Engineering College Association, also strongly criticised the decision of reducing the financial benefits for the poor ST and SC students in the middle of the pandemic. PTI AAM RG RG