About: Post Matric Scholarship for students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC), Benefits and Features

Cabinet nod to Rs 59,000 core investment in post-matric scholarship scheme for SC students

In News:

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister has approved major and transformatory changes in the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC)’.
  • The Cabinet also approved a total investment of Rs. 59,000 Cr or the scheme.

About: Post Matric Scholarship for students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC)

  • Post Matric Scholarship scheme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and implemented through governments of States and Union Territories.
  • The scheme provides financial assistance to the Scheduled Caste (SC) students studying at post matriculation or post-secondary stage (class 11th and onwards) to enable them to complete their education.
  • The scheme is operational under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • These scholarships are available to SC students for studies in India only.
  • These scholarships are awarded by the government of the State/Union Territory to which the applicant actually belongs i.e. permanently settled.

News Summary:

  • The Central Govt has committed to give a big push and further impetus to this effort so that the GER (Higher Education) of SCs would reach up to the National standards within the 5 year period.
  • As part of this push, the cabinet has approved major and transformatory changes to the ‘Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC)’ to upgrade it.

Revised PMS-SC:

  • The Scheme aims to benefit 4 Crore SC Students in the next 5 years so they can successfully complete their higher education.
    • As per the government, the scheme will help in bringing an estimated 1.36 Crore of the poorest students, who are currently not continuing their education beyond 10th standard, into higher education in the next five years.

  • The Cabinet has approved a total investment of Rs. 59,048 Cr of which Central Government would spend 60% and the balance would be spent by the State Govts.
  • The Central Assistance which was around Rs 1,100 crore annually during 2017-18 to 2019-20 would be increased more than 5 times to be around Rs 6,000 core annually during 2020-21 to 2025-26.

Benefits:

  • The Post Matric scheme for SC students will allow students to pursue any Post Matric course starting from Class 11th and onwards, with the government meeting the cost of education.
  • The value of scholarship, for complete duration of the course, includes the following among others:
    • Maintenance allowance to both hostellers and day scholars
    • Book allowance for students pursuing correspondence courses
    • Book bank facility for specified courses, and
    • Reimbursement of compulsory non-refundable fees

Features:

  • The focus of the scheme would be on enrolling the poorest students, timely payments, comprehensive accountability, continuous monitoring and total transparency.
  • A campaign will be launched to enroll the students, from the poorest households passing the 10th standard, in the higher education courses of their choice.
  • Online Platform: The scheme will run on an online platform to ensure transparency and timely delivery of assistance without any delays.
  • Verification: The States will undertake fool-proof verification of the eligibility, caste status, Aadhar identification and bank account details on the online portal.
  • DBT: Starting from 2021-22, the Central Government will release its 60% share directly into the bank accounts of the students, through DBT mode, after ensuring that the State Government has released their share.
  • Monitoring: Monitoring mechanism will be further strengthened through conduct of social audits, annual third party evaluation, and half-yearly self-audited reports from each institution.
  • The scheme also replaces the existing ‘Committee Liability’ system and aims at greater involvement of the Central Government in the scheme.
  • Committed Liability: It refers to the total expenditure incurred in the terminal year of the Five year Plan by States/UTs under Centrally Sponsored schemes of scholarships which then became the committed liability of the States/UTs for every year of the subsequent Five year Plan.

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