Only 240 out of 500 students benefitted in five years under NOS scheme : RTI

Published on March 15, 2022 by

Experts hold bureaucratic delays responsible

Bengaluru : An RTI reply shows only 240 out of 500 students who were selected for the National Overseas Scholarship scheme actually benefitted from it between 2016 and 2021.

Students complain that they have missed out on several opportunities due to several glitches.

“I have been applying (for the scheme) since 2019. The first two times, they said the document wasn’t found. I thought it was a problem from my end. In March 2021, I applied and fulfilled all criteria. In June, I found my name on the rejection list. The reason they stated was that my marks were below 60%. In reality, I have scored 68 percent,” said Arun Mahand, a Ph.D. research scholar.

Students have also raised concerns about the income ceiling as an eligibility criterion.

“The income criteria has been applied arbitrarily. There’s no research or data behind that. It (the scheme) doesn’t take into account whether the tuition fee is 10 lakh, 20 lakh, or 50 lakh. Even if your (family) income is slightly above Rs 8 lakh, you are straightaway not eligible for any scholarship,” said Anshul Kumar, a sociology student.

Official data suggests more than 5 lakh students go abroad for higher studies. The National Overseas Scholarship Scheme, meanwhile, aims to send 100 students from marginalized communities abroad to pursue higher studies. The limit was raised to 125 this year.

However, in the final stage of the three-step selection process, there is a difference of 52students on average who are selected for the scholarship and those who actually go abroad.

Experts attribute this to bureaucratic delays in the process which hamper students’ education.

“There is red-tapism and delay at every stage -from when the application is processed till it is approved to the money actually being disbursed. This bureaucratic delay impacts the academic calendar (of universities abroad) that the students have to comply with,” said Deepak Malghan, a professor at IIM Bangalore.

The Union government in February barred students applying for this scheme from pursuing subjects related to Indian history and culture in universities abroad. The government says the move is to promote the study of these subjects in India itself.

Activists insist that a change in the mindset of bureaucrats is required/needed to make the scheme more effective.

“What is required are sensitized officers (in the government). Those who know the reality. The reason being students complain that these officers show arrogance and do not cooperate when they have to go to Delhi for paperwork. This sort of Brahminical bureaucratic mindset needs to be changed,” said Vishal Thakare, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas, Austin.



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