May 24, 2024

The Bihar

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OBC, EBC Scholarship Issue Disrupts Bihar Assembly Zero Hour

3 min read

The non-availability of post-matric government scholarship to the students of Other Backward Castes (OBC) and Extremely Backward Castes (EBC) that had led to the now infamous clash between legislators in the Bihar Legislative Council yesterday, surfaced in Legislative Assembly today leading to its adjournment.

The issue raised by Leader of the Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav during the Zero Hour, generated so much heat that even the reply, as well as, assurance by Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to solve the problem could not cool it down.

When ruckus refused to die down, Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary adjourned the House till 2 PM.

Replying on the issue, Manjhi said, “We had envisaged the scholarship of Rs 1 to 1.5 lakh for post-matric students. It became very popular and we received applications from 5 lakh students. Our calculations suggested we needed Rs 1,300 crore to provide scholarships to the vast number of applicants, but money was an issue.”

Manjhi, who interjected while Water Resources Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary was replying to Yadav’s question, said there was an agreement with the central government over the financing of the scholarship scheme, and the Centre was supposed to provide 50 per cent of the scholarship amount. The rest was to be contributed by the state.

“This did not happen and the Government of India gave just Rs 80 crore. It was too less so we decided to put in Rs 300 crore from our side to cover the students left behind and the new applicants. We still fell short and thought to pitch in Rs 100 to 150 crore more. We are now spending around Rs 550 crore to cover all the students,” added the CM.

The CM said he raised the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, will meet him again to discuss it. He also added that if the Centre gives Rs 300 crore more, it will enable to state government will be able to spend Rs 700 to 800 crore on scholarships.

Giving reasons regarding the reduction of the maximum annual limit of the scholarship amount from Rs 1 lakh in 2011-12 to Rs 75,000 in 2012-13, Rs 15,000 in 2013-14 and then an amount equivalent to the fee structure in government institutions in the state where the scholarship applicants from Bihar are studying, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manhi said this was done because a racket was detected.

“We found that some people in nexus with affiliated educational institutions in other states were wrongly claiming Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh,” Manjhi said.

“So it was decided to provide money equivalent to what was charged by the government institutions to provide educational facilities in those states. This would come anywhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 40,000,” added the CM, who had earlier been the minister of Backward and Extremely Backward Class Welfare Department.

Dissatisfied with Manjhi’s answer, BJP MLAs charged into the well of the House shouting anti-government slogans, and alleging that it wanted to divert the issue.

Repeated requests by the Speaker to the legislators to return to their seats fell on deaf ears.

The Chief Minister walked away at this juncture and the Speaker adjourned the Assembly till post-recess.

Courtesy: Outlook India

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