Published: 03rd February 2021
Social Justice Ministry assures it is ensuring proper OBC representation, reconsidering criteria for ‘creamy layer’
The Ministry told the Lok Sabha that they had received nine complaints regarding discrimination in admissions at central universities and out of this eight had been disposed of
In response to questions raised in the Lok Sabha about OBC reservations, scholarships and discrimination in Universities, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment assured that it was doing its best to ensure proper representation. It also unveiled action plans for 33 schemes of the Department including the post-matric scholarships for Scheduled Castes, free coaching for SCs and OBCs, Pre-Matric Scholarship for children involved in unclean professions among many others.
The Ministry was asked whether the government or the National Commission for Backward Classes had recently issued any notices in complaints of discrimination in OBC admissions in Central Universities. The Ministry told the Lok Sabha that they had received nine complaints regarding discrimination in admissions and out of this eight had been disposed of, “A reply is yet to be received from one case from Dr Hari Singh Gour, Central University, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh.” The Ministry assured that the Department was taking steps to protect and promote OBCs in government ministries and departments — the OBCs have been granted 27 per cent reservation in centrally funded government educational institutes. They also declared that the NCBC, as per the Constitution, was monitoring and investigating all matters related to the safeguarding of OBCs and it would inquire into all specific complaints dealing with deprivation of rights of the OBCs.
The Post-Matric scholarship has been in the news over the last few months because of the massive corruption scams being done in its name. The scams also led the government to cut down on the money it had been investing in it leading to quite a furore because lakhs of students had been benefiting from it and would be forced to rethink their futures if they could not avail it. In its response regarding the scholarship, the Ministry said that scholarship was being implemented through all the states and union territories in the country. “The scheme is a fund limited scheme and the funds are released to the state on the basis of a notional allocation made every year. The subsequent fund is released on the receipt of the Utilisation Certificate from the previous release,” the Ministry said.
The Ministry said that during 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-2020, 93.74 per cent, 90.95 per cent and 95.54 per cent funds were released respectively. In 2020-21 against revives estimate of Rs 11,00 crore, 76.54 per cent funds have been released upto January 27, the Ministry said.
The Ministry has also said that the proposal for revision of the income criteria for determining the creamy layer among the OBCs is under consideration of the government after due consultation with the NCBC. “The State and UTs implementing the OBC welfare schemes have been requested to board on National Scholarship Portal. The scheme implementing agencies have been impressed upon that the central release should not remain parked in state treasuries and the release of funds should be made on a need basis. At the end of the financial year, the balance fund, if any, is distributed to scheme implementing agencies having more demand of central assistance than notional allocation,” the Ministry explained.
The Ministry said that it had enhanced income limit criteria for 2020-21 for OBC students under Post-Matric Scholarships from Rs 1.50 lakh to 2.50 lakh per annum. “Under Dr Ambedkar Post-Matric Scholarship for EBC income criteria has been increased to Rs 2.50 lakh from Rs 1 lakh for 2020-21. Also under Dr Ambedkar Interest Subsidy for educational loans for overseas studies for OBC/EBC, the income limit criteria for OBC students has been increased from Rs 2.50 lakh to Rs 8 lakh per annum for 2020-2021,” they stated in their response.