The University Grants Commission annually allots only 11 per cent of the total money it gets under the SC and ST sub plans on scholarships and fellowships, which directly benefits the students of these marginalised communities.
As per a reply given by UGC to a RTI query, it spent only Rs 107.86 crore for scholarships and fellowships out of the Rs 1047.33 crore in the SC sub-plan in 2012-13 and Rs 35.56 crore of the allotted Rs 507.20 crore of the Tribal sub-plan.
In the preceding year it spent Rs 87.86 crore of Rs 814.50 crore on scholarships and fellowships in the SC sub-plan and Rs 33.53 crore out of Rs 400.61 crore in the Tribal-sub plan.
A major chunk of the total money, around 60 per cent, was spent on building “capital assets” which are not specifically beneficial for SC or ST students, like construction of hostels or buying computers.
For this reason the UGC has come under fire from Dalit rights organizations.
Mr Paul Divakar, general secretary of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, which filed the RTI said, “This is not an issue which pertains just to the UGC. Ineffective spending and diversion of funds meant for SC and ST development exists in many well known institutions like the IITs, IIMs and ICSSR. This is just another form of discrimination. We have complained about the UGC problem to the minister of HRD, Ms Smriti Irani and head of other government bodies, but to no avail. We are planning to approach the courts now.”
When contacted, former UGC chairman Mr Sukhdeo Thorat said, “The allocation of money should be increased for fellowships because it helps the students directly and will result in more Dalit scholars pursuing research. What is the point of allocating money meant under the sub-plans if students do not benefit from it directly?”
Source – Deccan Chronicle