From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not Much
Mains level : Welfare schemes for various vulnerable sections of population
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved changes to the post-matric scholarship scheme for students from the Scheduled Castes (SCs), including a new funding pattern of 60-40 for the Centre and States.
Equality enshrined in the Constitution is not mathematical equality and does not mean all citizens will be treated alike without any distinction.
To this effect, the Constitution underlines two distinct aspects which together form the essence of equality law:
1) Non-discrimination among equals, and
2) Affirmative action to equalize the unequal
About the Scholarship
- It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and implemented through State Government and UT administration.
- Under the scheme, the government provides financial assistance to students from SCs for higher education at post-matriculation and post-senior-secondary stages, which means Class XI onwards.
- It can be availed by those, whose household incomes are less than Rs 2.5 lakh annually.
What are the new changes?
- States would carry out verification of the students’ eligibility and caste status and collect their Aadhaar and bank account details.
- Transfer of financial assistance to the students under the scheme shall be on DBT [direct benefit transfer] mode, and preferably using the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System.
- Starting from 2021-22, the Central share [60%] in the scheme would be released on DBT mode directly into the bank accounts of the students as per a fixed time schedule.
Why such changes now?
- The changes were aimed at enabling four crore students to access higher education over the next five years.
- Switching from the existing “committed liability” formula, the new funding pattern would increase the Centre’s involvement in the scheme.
Benefits of the scheme
- The changes approved by the Cabinet were aimed at enrolling the poorest students, ensuring timely payments, and maintaining accountability.
- An estimated 1.36 crore students who would otherwise drop out after Class 10 would be brought into the higher education system under the scheme in five years.