Ramadoss urges Meira Kumar to continue scholarship for SC students

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (UNI) Union Health Minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss has urged Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar to withdraw restrictions on centrally sponsored scheme of post matric scholarships to Scheduled Caste (SC) students during the eleventh Five Year Plan.

Dr Ramadoss met Ms Kumar yesterday and informed her that agitations and protests were being held by the SC students in Tamil Nadu against the modifications made in the existing scheme. In a letter addressed to Ms Kumar, he insisted that the modifications made on the existing scheme be withdrawn immediately and all SC students should get the scholarship without any condition.

The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry had recently issued an order effecting some modifications on continuation of centrally sponsored scheme of Post Matric Scholarships to students belonging to Scheduled Castes during the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-08 to 2011-12) which has been condemned by the students and the issue has now become very sensitive and is expected to result in severe political ramifications throughout the country, the letter stated.

''In this connection, I would like to bring to your kind notice that a large number of students have already availed the scholarship for the year 2007-08 and the modifications which have been issued by your Ministry restricting the benefit of the scheme to a limited students would deprive a larger number of students who have not yet availed the benefit of the scholarship,'' he pointed out.

Though the scheme had been initiated with an idea to uplift the SC students, the restrictions put on implementation of the said scheme had resulted in modifying the scheme into a merit based, which would badly affect the SC/ST students and deprive them of an opportunity to pursue higher education, he said.

Pointing out that Government scholarships were the lifeline for these oppressed class students, he said fixing 60 per cent marks for availing the benefit amounts to putting an end to their dream for pursuing higher education.

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