The Prime Ministers Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS), that was launched with fan-fare in Kashmir by then UPA government has ended up ruining career of vulnerable students. The scheme is back in news after two colleges in Haryana expelled 86 students for non-payment of dues recently, putting their careers at risk.
Sadat Hussain, 23, a BBA student, who was about to sit in his sixth semester exams was told to leave the campus by Delhi Technical Campus, Haryana, because MHRD has failed to pay for his tuition and hostels charges, covered in the PMSSS.
“I was shown the door at the eleventh hour by my college authorities. My career is at stake,” says Hussain who came back to Kashmir some two months ago after he was denied permission to take his final semester exams.
Ever since its inception PMSSS is in news for all the bad reason. It has over the years became a reason for pain for students who are studying in different colleges across India.
“There are a number of students in colleges across different states in India. We were promised a safe future but it turned into an ending nightmare for us,” feels Hussain.
Interestingly, PMSSS was introduced by GoI in 2011 to help 5000 marginalized students from Kashmir to fulfill their dream of studying in top professional colleges across India.
The scholarship was an all expenses included study programme that promised to cover tuition fee, hostel fees, cost of books and other incidental charges to the students of J&K.
But, within an year of its launch, colleges alleged that MHRD has failed to keep it promise of reimbursing the costs of study that these students have incurred.
“We were promised a cent per cent hassle free scholarship by the government. But now they (MHRD) has stopped paying the same. But how are responisble for that,” asks Hussain who hails from Pohra, Nowgam, on the outskirts of Srinagar city.
Hussain says that college authorities are asking for clearance of all outstanding dues by the students, only then they will allow us to sit in the exams. “How can my family bare such huge expenses when the scheme was clearely meant for poor students,” questions Hussain who comes from a humble farmers family. “My father has to take care of my other siblings too. How can he pay such a big amount for my studies only,” says Hussain who has two sisters and two brothers.
“We were told it is PM’s Scholarship Scheme but it is in fact PM’s Scholarship Scam,” says Hussain.
Another student, Nisar Ahmad Sofi, 20, a B.Tech fourth semester student at Rohtak Institute of Engineering and Management, who was sent home on the same date as Hussain, feels dejected by the callous attitude of the college authorities. “How can they ruin our career like this,” asks Sofi.
Now sitting idle at home, Sofi a resident of Manzhama, Magam in Budgam district is waiting anxiously for any breakthrough so that he can rejoin his college and complete his studies. Sofi’s father, Abdul Sattar Sofi, a small time shopkeeper by profession who also works as a labourer in order to support his family, says he has lost all hope that were pinned on his son. “My father was happy when I was selected for PMSSS. He knew that studying outside will eventually help the family get out of poverty,” says Sofi.
But it has been two months now that Sofi and Hussain are back home without a hope of returning.
“How can we go back. They (colleges) need money which we don’t have,” says a dejected Sofi.
“We send our kids outside to become doctors and engineers in India but they are sent back only as half-doctors and half-engineers,” says Sajad Noorabadi, a social activist and teacher from Manzgam in Kulgam district.