Riyaz Ul Khaliq
It seems a long-hardened stance of J&K government on the controversial PM scholarships has finally ended. After lingering in uncertainly for last five years, the present dispensation headed by Ms Mehbooba Mufti has woken up to the need of the facilitation centres for J&K students, where they get a seat in professional colleges across India through Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS).
The scholarships were thought as union government’s antidote to “mainstream the alienated youth of J&K” in backdrop of massive public uprising in Kashmir in 2010. Launched by UPA-II led by Dr Manmohan Singh, 5000 scholarships were to be disturbed annually. The whole educational package costs Rs 1200 crore.
The Scholarship provided Class 12 pass-out students an opportunity to study in various medical and engineering colleges across India. But after the previous dispensation didn’t notify any agency for facilitating the admission process, NGOs took over and managed the whole process and ended up creating mess.
The first jolt to the whole process was the complaints by some students that the NGOs had minted money from them before allotting the scholarships.
Big mess surfaced when almost one year later in their respective colleges, the students reported harassments. “We were told to pay fee else we would not be allowed to sit in exams,” the students said. “We felt deceived as we were promised full scholarship but out colleges told us they received nothing.”
This was manageable as some students paid from their pockets as well. But the problem was quality of education. “The colleges which were designated for PMSSS students are third rated institutions,” a student said, “it was humiliating; the hostel facilities were worst.”
The major crisis erupted when scores of students were rusticated in a Meerut college after they cheered for Pakistan cricket team’s win against Indian cricket team in 2014. After the issue was settled, many didn’t return after they had already spent two years. They preferred stay back and start fresh.
Recently, in the back drop of NIT row in Srinagar, many PMSSS-availed students faced attacks in some colleges as well.
But now, the J&K government Monday published an advertisement in a local daily, notifying the colleges for facilitation in admissions through PMSSS.