Directs GoI to release scholarship formulated by Rangarajan committee
SRINAGAR: As a “one-time exception”, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed government of India to register students from J&K, admitted by Mawar University, for scholarship for 2014-15 and for subsequent years till they complete their courses.
Over 250 students from J&K had taken admission in various programmes during the academic year 2014-15 in Mewar University. When scholarship was not released in their favour, the varsity issued a notice on 5 February 2015, asking them to vacate all the hostels on the campus.
The university had also asked them to deposit hostel fee, tuition fee and others as the university was not in a position to meet the financial deficit due to non-release of the scholarship in their favour by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), entrusted with the responsibility of releasing scholarships to all eligible candidates.
“It is directed, by way of one time exception for the academic session 2014-15, the students who have been admitted by the (Mawar University) shall be registered for scholarship and scholarship shall be released in their favour through respective institution and also for subsequent years till they complete their courses,” a single bench of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir said while disposing of petition, seeking quashing of a notification issued by AICTE under Special Scholarship Scheme (SSS) 2014-15 that denies grant of scholarship to the students admitted in any educational institution other than through the AICTE counseling.
The petitioners, many aggrieved students from J&K, had also sought the court’s direction to quash the decision of the Inter-Ministerial Committee of MHRD on Special Scholarship Scheme which denies scholarship to the students who have taken admission outside the AICTE counseling.
The scholarship was formulated post 2010 uprising on the recommendations by an Expert Group under the chairmanship of C Rangarajan.
“The recent youth turmoil in Kashmir, though political, was also in a sense indicative of alienation and possibly disappointment at the lack of opportunities in the State….There has been damage to the physical infrastructure and the disturbances have also eroded the intellectual capital. On the other hand the youth have had to live with disruptions in education, which has impacted their ability to compete,” the expert group had said and had recommended four initiatives – first, a Special Scholarship Scheme for J&K; second, faculty development programmes; third, a special initiative by Delhi Public School (DPS) and fourth setting up placement cell by IGNOU in Jammu and Srinagar— to increase the access of the youth to educational opportunities.
The AICTE, pursuant to a notice, informed the heads of institutions admitting students under J&K SSS for the session 2014-15 that inter-ministerial Committee of MHRD on Special Scholarship Scheme on 23 August 2012, decided to create two supernumerary seats across all the institutes and colleges for the purpose which have been approved.
As per notice, it was made clear that AICTE is conducting counselling from 30 August 2014 to 05 September 2014 at SP College, Srinagar.
The petitioners stated that they took admission in Mewar University in accordance with applicable scheme following last year’s practice under the bona fide impression that since they have registered themselves on the website of AICTE and got their documents verified on the verification counter approved by the AICTE, they could not reach to the counselling centre because heavy rains and flood (Kashmir witnessed devastating flood in 2014).
The government of India, in the reply submitted before the court, had stated that for the academic year 2014-15, IMC in its 8th meeting recommended that only those students who applied through AICTE portal will only be eligible for the scholarship from the academic year 2014-15 onwards.
Pertinently, after the 2010 uprising, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the Special Scholarship Scheme for Jammu & Kashmir on the recommendations of the expert group to encourage the youth of state to pursue higher studies outside their State. The total cost of the scheme was Rs 1200 crore of which Rs 88 crore were incurred in the first financial year.
The expert group had recommends that 5000 scholarships per annum may be awarded for the next 5 years. Out of the total, 4500 scholarships (90%) could be for general degree courses, 250 for engineering (5%) and 250 for medical studies (5%). These scholarships would not only cover, subject to a normative sealing, the full tuition fee but also hostel fee, cost of books and other incidentals.
Every scholar will get up to Rs.30,000 per annum for tuition fee for general degree courses, up to Rs.1.25 lakh per annum for engineering course and up to Rs 3 lakh per annum for medical studies. In addition to these, hostel fees and incidentals will also be given for all categories of courses up to a ceiling of Rs one lakh per annum.