Published: 20th January 2022
Budget 2022: AIOBCSA urges FM Sitharaman to address edu issues of OBCs, list ten demands in letter
But why should the government spend more on OBCs? All India OBC Students Association (AIOBCSA) said that the allocations have historically been less for OBCs
The All India OBC Students Association (AIOBCSA) has written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman ahead of the Union Budget 2022-23. They have a total of ten demands, ranging from bridging the digital divide to special OBC grants and hostels for OBC students. The students' group said that the government must address OBC issues and not take them for granted.
But why should the government spend more on OBCs? Kiran Kumar, a student of the University of Hyderabad and the President of AIOBCSA, said that the allocations have historically been less for OBCs. "Thirty per cent of the total budgetary allocations of the Ministry of Social Justice is made for the welfare of OBCs, aged people, persons with disabilities and so on. But 70 per cent of the allocations are made for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes. The allocation under the ministry is less for the welfare of OBCs," said Kiran. "We are not against the percentage of allocation to any community, but we are demanding our allocation according to our population as OBCs are the largest taxpayers of the country," he added.
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The students said that the government should introduce a special Digital Device Drive, provide digital devices like laptops and tablets for students and offer special free internet schemes for marginalised and poor students. They said that the budgetary allocation for the National Fellowship for OBCs (NFOBC) should be increased and the number of fellowship slots should be increased from 1,000 to 10,000 to meet OBC students' demand. "The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment gives only 1,000 slots for National Fellowship for OBCs whereas the same ministry gives 3,500 slots to SCs and respective ministries give 750 slots to STs and 1,000 slots to other minorities. The slots must increase proportionately to the population. Similarly, OBCs are also not granted Post Doctoral Fellowships. For that we need more allocations in the budget," Kiran added.
Online education during the pandemic was a huge issue, especially for marginalised students and for those who had to go back home to remote corners of the country. "To face such logistic and technical issues, we need special social welfare hostels for all sections to continue our studies and excel. Hence, we are demanding a social welfare hostel in each parliamentary constituency with infrastructure and connectivity. There are schemes that enable the centre to assist states with the construction of hostels on a contribution basis. We are asking the centre to construct such hostels independently as some of the states do not have proper hostel facilities," said the students.
The AIOBCSA also pointed out that there should be more allocation to enable proper reservation for OBCs in recruitment to higher educational institutions and the construction of Savitriabai Phule Women Degree and PG Colleges in all Parliamentary constituencies and Savitribai Phule Women University in all states to provide quality education to empower marginalised and poor girl students. "The government must address OBC issues and work to empower marginalised sections. No one should consider us as just a vote bank and take us for granted," said Kiran.