No Specially Abled Student Availed Free Coaching Scholarship Scheme From 2019-2022: Parliamentary Panel
A parliamentary standing committee pointed out that the number of beneficiaries under the Free Coaching Scholarship Scheme for students with disabilities has been nil from 2019-2022.
A parliamentary standing committee pointed out that the number of beneficiaries under the Free Coaching Scholarship Scheme for students with disabilities has been nil from 2019-2022. The parliamentary committee report of social justice and empowerment was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The Committee noted that the targets fixed under the Free Coaching Scholarship Scheme for students with disabilities were not achieved as reportedly empanelment of coaching institutes could not be done, in view of the guidelines for coaching institutes with regard to special needs of Divyangjan.
It said it was "perturbed" to find that from 2019 to 2022, the number of beneficiaries is nil under the scheme and that more than three years have been taken by the Department to decide to allow students from April 1, 2022 to directly apply to the Department for taking financial assistance for free coaching from an institute which enjoys good reputation and has good track record in providing coaching pan India.
The panel also flagged that budgetary allocation under six schemes of scholarships for students with disabilities has not only remained stagnant, but also the target fixed under each of these schemes has not been achieved due to insufficient applications received from various state governments/UTs owing to Covid pandemic.
The Committee noted that consequent to the total number of recognised disabilities being increased from seven to 21 in 2018 after the enforcement of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the Department for People with Disabilities is in the process of revision of scheme guidelines for the disabled and have sought inputs from rehabilitation experts and states/UTs to improve the scheme and make it broad-based in view of more number of disabilities.
The Committee said no time limit has been fixed by the Department for completion of this task. In the absence of definite timelines, the Committee is worried as to how much time would be consumed in just revision of guidelines as substantial time has already lapsed since the enactment of the Act in 2016.
"Further delay would only hamper the welfare of disabled persons. The Committee would therefore, like the Department to set up a time limit to complete the work of revision of guidelines and like to be apprised of the schedule prepared in this regard.
“As the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had informed, funds could not be released by them as verified applications were received towards the end of financial year/in the beginning of next financial year,” it said.
The Committee said it was displeased to note that only seven students were selected for 2019-20, six for 2020-21 and five for 2021-22, out of the 20 scholarships fixed under the National Overseas Scholarships for the year 2019-20, 2020- 21 and 2021-22.
The Committee said it feels that there has been an undue delay on behalf of the Department in taking decision with regard to solvency certificate as they believe that the Department should have made extra efforts to find out the reasons due to which students were not forthcoming for the scholarship.
The Committee further observed that the Overseas Scholarship is implemented offline, which again limits its access among Divyang students from obvious reasons. This aspect needs to be examined too, it added.
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