Srinagar: Students belonging to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category here in the Valley appear to be showing a cold response to the Pre-Matric Scholarship implemented by the Social Welfare Department throughout the state, resulting in the lapse of funds meant for these scholarships.
Officials, however, blame the non-seriousness of the Zonal Education Officer (ZEO) of District Srinagar for not providing the list of students studying in private or in government schools and falling under this category.
The Pre-Matric scholarship for the OBC category extends coverage for children of carpenters, masons, barbers and potters. Where boy students of Classes 1st to 5th get Rs 450 for a period of nine months, girl student of the same classes get Rs 675 for the same period.
Similarly, boys from 6th to 8th class get Rs 900 while girls of the same class will get Rs 1,350. Same is the case with 9th to 10th class boys: they will get Rs 1,350 for nine months while girls get Rs 1,800.
Tariq Ahmad Bhat, Senior Assistant Officer of Social Welfare Department, told Kashmir Reader that “we pleaded with the ZEO for the list, but they didn’t provide it; that is the main reason our funds lapsed. Last year, Rs 28 lakh lapsed due to the non- seriousness of the concerned officials of the Education Department as they too didn’t provide the list of the students.”
He added that same thing happened this year too. “Almost five times we reminded our ZEO, but they didn’t pay any heed to our reminders. What can we do?”
When asked about the role of the ZEO in the scholarships, he replied, “They have to do private school as well as government school, which is in their jurisdiction, and ask the school authorities for the list, according to which we will provide money to the students.”
On the other hand, OBC students are not even aware about this scholarship. “No one told us about it,” said a group of students of Hindu Public High School. “In this school, almost 50 percent of the students are eligible for this scholarship as they fall in this category, but we are unaware about it.”