Sunday, 27 November, 2022
HomeIndiaGovernanceCAG alleges fraud and failed implementation of schemes for SC students in...

CAG alleges fraud and failed implementation of schemes for SC students in Punjab

Text Size:

Punjab has the highest proportion of SCs in India, but has hardly passed on any benefits to students under central and state government schemes.

Chandigarh: Punjab has the highest Scheduled Caste (SC) population in the country at 32 per cent, but has failed miserably to implement central and state schemes which benefit students from this category, an audit report has said.

A performance audit of these schemes by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tabled in the state assembly Thursday has revealed irregularities worth crores in the use of funds provided under the schemes.

This is besides the fact that in five years (2012-2017), of the total allocation of over Rs 2,500 crore under various schemes for SC students, only Rs 1,800 crore was made available for use by the finance department.

Irregularities in the post-matric scheme

The report alleged that under the post-matric scheme, in which the Centre pays 100 per cent of SC students’ fee for secondary and higher education, many private and government institutions swindled money.

The institutions made students pay the fee at the time of admission, and later claimed the fee and allowances from the government under the scheme, without passing on the reimbursements to the students. Hence for every SC student, the institutions received double the fee.

During the sessions 2013 to 2017, 16 government institutions collected over Rs 5 crore which should’ve rightfully gone to almost 20,000 students, while 12 private institutions collected over Rs 3.3 crore, which should’ve been distributed among 17,000 students.

Also, as part of the post-matric scheme, the state overpaid crores to hundreds of institutions for study tours and procurement of books. In government institutions, where SC students are provided free lodging and boarding facilities, the government granted reimbursement to students for amounts they had not even spent on living in the hostels.

In over 40 institutions, almost 2,500 students left midway through their post-matric courses, but the institutions continued to claim their fees and allowances from the government.

The CAG also found that the centralised web portal maintained by the state — which collected data of all eligible students under the post-matric scheme — was full of defects. It threw up hundreds of cases where fake or ineligible students had been given the benefit of the scheme, while hundreds of genuine claimants had been left out.

Other schemes

Under the Punjab government’s scheme of special grants to SC girl students studying in post-matric and post-graduate classes, 20,000 girls in six districts were eligible for financial assistance of Rs 1.30 crore between 2012-17. But these students were never asked to apply for the scheme.

In fact, against the budget allocation of Rs 18 crore for the years 2012-17 under two other state sponsored schemes, only Rs 1.62 crore was released during 2012-13; and none from 2013 to 2017.

The schemes are implemented by the department of welfare of scheduled castes and backward classes, and the technical education department.

The CAG also pointed out that the enrolment of SC students in schools declined by 16 per cent at the primary level and by 5 per cent at the upper primary level in 2016-17 compared to 2012-13, which reflected that the objective of the schemes to increase enrolment was not achieved.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular