Confusion mars PMSSS implementation

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, May 29: The Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) meant to provide higher educational opportunities to Jammu and Kashmir students is threatening to boomerang as confusion continues over its implementation even two years after it was rolled out.
Students studying in many colleges outside the state under the program have been told to clear the fee and other dues else their admission would be cancelled.
“Our examination starts tomorrow but we have been denied admit cards and told by the authorities to clear the fee at first place,” a student from Kashmir who is studying under the scheme in a College at Gurgaon in Haryana told Greater Kashmir over phone.
He has completed one semester of the program in the College but is yet to receive the scholarship money.
There are at least 60 other students from Kashmir studying in the College and facing same problem, he said.
“We can’t leave the College as the authorities have seized our academic certificates,” he said.
PMSSS was started by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) in 2011 on the recommendation of an expert group led by Dr C Rangarajan, Chairman Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s Economic Advisory Council.
Sources said earlier the reports about fraud cases led to delay in the reimbursement of money to the colleges
Sources said following the confusion, MHRD roped in All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) as nodal agency to for implementation of the scheme and also to re-verify the credential of the students who were either studying in different colleges or had applied for further studies.
The agency cleared to the Ministry that there were no “fraud” cases, sources said.
However, the Ministry is sitting on reimbursing the colleges which is in turn threatening the career of hundreds of students from J&K.
On Monday the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told media persons at a function at Ganderbal that the Program was a reimbursement scheme.
“The students will require paying the colleges and they will be reimbursed later,” Omar said.
Sources said it was not a reimbursement scheme to begin with but due to many “hiccups and confusion” over its implementation the authorities decided that it would be a reimbursement scheme at the beginning.
“Later the reimbursement criteria will be done away with and students will not require paying anything,” the sources said.
A senior official in the Higher Education Department acknowledged that there was “lot of confusion” surrounding the scheme.
“There is also no doubt that there are complaints about students facing problems outside,” he said. “But it is all temporary,” he said.
The official said JK Government has limited role in the implementation of PMSSS as it is just confined to publicizing the scheme. The Higher Education Department has written to the AICTE to launch awareness programs in both Jammu and Kashmir.
The Program:
In 2010 the Dr C Rangarajan-led panel had recommended that JK should be given 5,000 free scholarships annually, for five years beginning 2011-12, varying from Rs 30,000 to Rs 3 lakh per annum for students wishing to go for higher studies outside.
Later the Union Cabinet in 2011 approved the Rs 1,200 crores Program.
It aimed at encouraging Kashmiri students from families with income below Rs 4.5 lakh per annum to study in colleges outside the state on a fully-funded scholarship.
Out of the 5000 scholarships per annum, 4500 scholarships (90%) could be for general degree courses, 250 for engineering (5%) and 250 for medical studies (5%), the experts group had recommended.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 29 May 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 29 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 May 2013 00:00:00 IST


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