Funds for education of SCs, STs slashed in Budget, say rights groups

-The Indian Express

It pointed out that fellowships and scholarships for PhD and post-doctoral courses have constantly declined since 2014-15 - from Rs 602 crore to Rs 283 crore in 2019-20 for SC students and from Rs 439 crore to Rs 135 crore for ST students.

New Delhi:
The funding for secondary and higher education of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) students has received a setback in the Union Budget, presented on Friday by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, according to an analysis by Dalit and Adivasi rights groups. The Budget estimate for post-matric scholarships for SC students has been slashed from Rs 3,000 crore last year to Rs 2,926 crore this year, Beena Pallical of Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan said. “The revised budget (RE) for 2018-19 was as high as Rs 6,000 crore, which included arrears of unreleased scholarship amount. The arrears continue; even then, there has been a reduction this year,” Pallical said. Similarly, post-matric scholarship for ST students has been reduced from Rs 1,643 crore in 2018-19 RE to Rs 1,613 crore this year.
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It pointed out that fellowships and scholarships for PhD and post-doctoral courses have constantly declined since 2014-15 – from Rs 602 crore to Rs 283 crore in 2019-20 for SC students and from Rs 439 crore to Rs 135 crore for ST students. Similarly, allocation for higher education funds for SCs and STs has reduced by 23 per cent in UGC and 50 per cent in IGNOU, it stated.

It is also “unprecedented” that allocations for Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the nodal ministry, has been “significantly reduced” compared to last year, it was stated. “Other critical ministries with downward trend of allocations in SC development are Rural Development, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, and Drinking Water and Sanitation. From the Scheduled Tribe perspective, the critical ministries of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises and Drinking Water and Sanitation are the biggest losers, whereas there is only a marginal increase in allocations for the Ministry of Tribal Affairs,” read a statement by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights.

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The Indian Express, 7 July, 2019, https://indianexpress.com/article/business/budget/funds-for-education-of-scs-sts-slashed-in-budget-say-rights-groups-5818989/

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