Fact Check: Has the allocation for Scholarships of SCs/OBCs increased?

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One of the infographics uploaded by the government on the 48-months website makes certain claims about scholarships to students from the SC and OBC communities. This article is a fact check of the claims.

One of the infographics uploaded by the government on the 48-months website makes certain claims about scholarships to students from the SC and OBC communities. This article is a fact check of the claims.

Scholarships of SC_infographic (1)

How many students have benefitted from scholarships and What was the budget allocation for scholarships?
The first claim is that over 3.3 crore students benefitted during 2014-16, with scholarships worth Rs. 7565 crores. Central Assistance (CA) is released to States for students belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC)/Other Backward Class (OBC) for the following schemes:

  • Post Matric Scholarship for SC students
  • Pre-Matric Scholarship for SC students
  • Post Matric Scholarship for OBC Students
  • Pre-Matric Scholarship for OBC Students

There are multiple other schemes, but these are the major scholarship schemes. Based on this answer and this answer provided in the Lok Sabha and the annual report of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, calculations have been made to arrive at the total amount of Central Assistance released during these years and the total number of beneficiaries of these schemes.

What about overall Central Assistance (CA)?
We also compared the central assistance for these four scholarship schemes during the last two years of the UPA government and the first two years of the current government. The budget allocations have only marginally increased in the current government. In the case of Pre-Matric scholarships for SC students, the highest amount was released in 2012-13. In the case of all the other schemes, the highest amount was released in 2015-16. It is also seen that the overall amount released in 2013-14 was more than the amount released in 2014-15.Scholarships of SC_Pre & Post Matric SCs_OBCs CA released

What about the number of Beneficiaries?
We also compared the total number of beneficiaries of these four schemes during the last two years of the UPA government and the first two years of the current government. While the overall beneficiaries were highest in 2012-13, it was the least in 2013-14. Though it has improved since then, the numbers are still lower than the 2012-13 mark.Scholarships of SC_Pre & post matric scholarship scheme beneficiariesAs per government data, the total number of beneficiaries (for the above mentioned schemes) is 6.99 crore between 2014-16.  The total amount of central assistance released is Rs. 7050.22 crores.

Claim: Over 3.3 crore students benefitted during 2014-16, with scholarships worth Rs. 7565 crore.

Fact: The total number of beneficiaries during 2014-16 is 6.99 crore and the total amount of central assistance released is Rs. 7050.22 crore. Both the number of beneficiaries & the amount of central assistance hasn’t changed much from the last two years of the UPA government.

Hence, the claim is MISLEADING.

Has there been a raise in the income eligibility of Pre-Matric OBC scholarships?
As per the annual report of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, the pre-matric scholarship Scheme is a ‘Funds-Limited’ Scheme. The scholarship is available in such institutions and for such pre-matriculation courses, which have been duly recognized by the concerned State Government and Union Territory Administration. Under the scheme, 50% central assistance is provided to the State Governments over and above their committed liability, while in case of UTs 100% central assistance is provided, subject to availability of the Budget under the scheme. However, North-East States are exempted from this committed liability under the Scheme.

The second claim is that income eligibility has been raised from Rs. 44,500 to Rs. 2.5 lakh rupees for the pre-matric scholarship for OBCs. The Ministry’s 2016-17 annual report mentions that the pre-matric scholarships are awarded to students belonging to OBCs whose parent’s income from all sources does not exceed Rs. 44,500 per annum. However, the 2017-18 annual report of the Ministry mentions the annual income limit as Rs. 2.5 lakh rupees.

Claim: Income eligibility has been raised from 44,500 rupees to 2.5 lakh rupees for the pre-metric scholarship for OBCs.

Fact: The income eligibility has indeed been raised from Rs. 44,500 in 2016-17 to Rs. 2,50,000 in 2017-18. Hence, the claim is TRUE.

Has there been an increase in the income eligibility of pre-matric SC scholarships?
The third claim is that income eligibility has been raised from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakh for the pre-matric scholarship for SC students. According to the annual report 2017-18 of the ministry of social justice and empowerment, ‘In order to include more beneficiaries, income eligibility criteria for Pre-Matric Scholarships for Scheduled Castes Students studying in Class IX and X was raised from Rs. 2.00 Lakh to Rs. 2.5 Lakh, at par with Post-matric scholarship for next three years i.e. 2017-18 to 2019-20.”

Claim: Income eligibility has been raised from 2 lakh rupees to 2.5 lakh rupees for the pre-metric scholarship for SC students.

Fact: Income eligibility criteria for Pre-Matric Scholarships for Scheduled Castes Students studying in Class IX and X was raised from Rs. 2 Lakh to Rs. 2.5 Lakh. Hence, the claim is TRUE.

This story is part of a larger series on the 4-years of the Modi government. This series has been made possible with the flash grant of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN). Read the rest of the stories in this series here.

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