T.N. opposes revision of guidelines in PMS scheme

Opposing the recent revision in guidelines for claiming reimbursement of the fees paid for management quota/spot admission seats under the Post Matric Scholarship (PMS) scheme, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Wednesday sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in the issue.

He contended that the stoppage of the refund from April would severely affect a large number of students from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities with a poor economic background.

On Wednesday, The Hindu in a report ‘Union Ministry’s latest norms likely to put Dalit students in a spot’ highlighted how the new guidelines would adversely affect the intended beneficiaries.

The Post Matric Scholarship scheme has been a strong source of support to these students in joining higher and technical education institutions in the State. The scheme has largely helped the State in achieving a higher Gross Enrolment Ratio of more than 45%.

“Non-reimbursement of fees for management quota seats under the new guidelines will result in a huge setback in achieving the goal of social equity and social justice, as it will deny opportunities to the poor SC/ST students in the fields of higher and technical education. This may cause serious resentment and unrest among the SC/ST community,” Mr. Palaniswami contended.

‘Allocation stagnant’

The revised guidelines would only dilute the State’s efforts, the Chief Minister stated and pointed out that even though increased awareness resulted in increased admission of SC/ST students to higher education, the allocation in the Central budget had remained stagnant for many years.

“This resulted in accumulation of a huge amount of pending reimbursement to the State by Government of India, which affected the scheme’s implementation at the field level. For instance, ₹1,803 crore has accumulated as arrears pending reimbursement to the State of Tamil Nadu up to March, 2018,” Mr. Palaniswami stated in his letter to the Prime Minister.

The Chief Minister suggested that instead of modifying the guidelines to curtail the existing benefit, the right course of action would be to step up the allocation substantially. Since five-year plans did not exist any more, the CM suggested that the scheme be funded with a sharing pattern of 60:40 between the Centre and State respectively instead of through reimbursements.

Mr. Palaniswami requested Mr. Modi to intervene and allow reimbursement of fees against management quota seats without any change and release the pending central assistance to the State as soon as possible.

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