Maharashtra: Deputy CM Fadnavis assures revised regulation for Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Scholarships scheme?

The Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Scholarship Scheme provides financial assistance to SC and Neo-Buddhist boys and girls for pursuing master's and research (PhD) courses abroad
Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis(Pic: Source)

While the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against recent policy changes in Maharashtra’s Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Scholarship Scheme was rejected on June 26 by the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court, beneficiaries might find some relief soon. On July 6, Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured that a new Government Resolution (GR) would be released shortly, according to Rajiv Khobragade, the petitioner and a member of the NGO The Platform.

“The court rejected the PIL, stating it wouldn’t interfere in policy-making decisions. However, it has been over 15 days since the decision, and the court has yet to upload its order. We believe this delay is because our petition was strong and constitutional,” said Khobragade. He added that he would submit a review petition once the order is out and take the matter to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

Meanwhile, The Platform has met with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to discuss the issue. They were assured that a new GR would be released soon. “We mentioned that the application deadline is the 12th of this month and requested him to expedite the resolution. While he has assured us of a resolution, they are politicians, so you never know,” remarked Khobragade.

The Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Scholarship Scheme provides financial assistance to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Neo-Buddhist boys and girls for pursuing master's and research (PhD) courses abroad. However, this year's GR introduced three new conditions that have stirred debates about accessibility and inclusivity.

The new conditions include a cap of Rs 30 lakh for master's courses and Rs 40 lakh for PhDs for SC students, whereas previously, the scholarships provided full coverage. Additionally, eligibility is now limited by an annual income cap of Rs 8 lakh. Furthermore, the academic performance threshold has been raised from 55% to 75% from Class X through graduation/post-graduation.

Speaking about the potential new GR, Khobragade said, “We are very confident that the 75% criteria and the cap will be removed; however, we aren’t sure about the annual income ceiling. This is not an economic criterion but a social one, so it makes no sense to have an income cap, but I don't think they will remove it.”

The Platform also met with Dr Nitin Raut, a member of the Maharashtra Assembly, on July 7. He assured them he would raise the scholarship issue in the house today, July 9, or tomorrow, July 10.

With the application deadline just three days away, Khobragade is certain that it will be extended and that there will be a resolution soon.

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