The government of India has witnessed a significant decline in the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarships (NMMS) offered to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST). According to the latest data shared by Union Education Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, 48,116 SC and 16,460 ST students have received the benefits of the NMMSS scholarship scheme from March 2020 till March 31 this year.
As per the data, in the previous session, the number of SC and ST students receiving the scholarship was 58,307 and 22,562, respectively. The amount availed under the scholarship scheme has also dropped. In the session 2020-21, 69.13 crore rupees were sanctioned to SC students whereas this year, only 57.74 crore rupees have been given. The scholarship amount given to ST category students has seen a drip from 26.80 crore rupees to 19.75 rupees.
At the same time, the number of students availing of scholarships under the National Talent Research Scheme (NTRS) has increased this year. In the session 2021-22, around 496 SC and 163 ST students have received the NTRS scholarship which was received by only 214 SC and 118 ST students in 2020-21.
The government has introduced various scholarships for minorities, according to a leading news agency. This include pre-matric and post-matric scholarship schemes for all eligible SC, ST students. The scholarships are also being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA).
Regarding the timely dispersion of scholarships, the education ministry has stated that the National Means-cum-Merit scholarship scheme is being implemented in full swing. It was developed with the purpose of making the process of releasing the scholarships fast, effective, and timely by ensuring transparency.
The report further asserts that other scholarship schemes such as National Talent Search Scheme, are also working at their pace and there is no delay in sanctioning the amount to students. The ministry also revealed that the scholarship amount is transferred to the beneficiary’s account via Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).