Patnaik urges Centre to restore SC student scholarship pattern
Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], Nov 19 (ANI): Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written a letter to Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot on Saturday seeking his personal attention to restore the original funding pattern for post matric scholarship programme for students belonging to the Scheduled Castes category. "I would request your personal intervention to reconsider the matter and restore the funding pattern of 90:10 for smooth implementation of post matric scholarshipprogramme for the Scheduled Castes students," said Patnaik in the letter. As per the letter, the post matric scholarship scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme, wherein until 2016-17 the ministry was providing about 90 per cent while the state government was bearing the remaining 10 per cent of the actual expenditure. However, the ministry has revised the liability of the state government wherein it will have to bear 80 per cent of the total expenditure. In his letter, Patnaik substantiated his point by mentioning the old and new funding pattern. He highlighted that the central share was Rs. 215.80 crore and Rs 238.28 crore while the state's share was Rs. 22.48 crore and Rs 35.12 crore during 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively. For the year 2018-19, however, the state government has to provide Rs 238.28 crore while the central government is expected to provide Rs 49.39 crore only on the basis of the revised pattern. He added, "Such an abrupt change in the funding pattern by the ministry has given a severe jolt to the post matric scholarship programme for Scheduled Caste students." While urging the Centre to revert to the old pattern, the chief minister pointed out that the scheme is beneficial for more than 2 lakh Scheduled Caste students.