**Bhubaneswar:** At total 2 lakh SC and ST students study in 10th standard across schools in Odisha. These students are entitled for a scholarship sponsored by the Centre. The Centre has a share of 90 percent in the scholarship for the SC/ST students, while the State extends a share of 10 percent.
In 2016-17, the Centre provided Rs 215.80 crore while the State’s share was Rs 22.48 crore for the aforementioned scholarship. However, the scholarship modalities were modified in 2017-18 and the Centre’s share was limited to 20 percent, whereas the State is required to add 80 percent for the SC/ST scholarship.
Under this new system, the Odisha Government has to bear the 80 percent funding of upto Rs 238.28 crore for the scholarships in 2017-18, said Finance Minister, Sashi Bhusan Behera.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written to the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and apprised of the concerns of the State over the new guidelines and requested the Centre to reconsider the modifications.
“The Chief Minister also urged the Union Ministry to revert the modalities to the earlier proportion which the State and Centre shared. The Centre, instead of helping the State Government in supporting the SC/ST students, has forced an additional financial burden,” Behera added.
The BJD has decided to stage a protest infront of Raj Bhavan on this matter on November 25.
“We will present a memorandum to the President through Governor with a demand to revoke the new financial structure imposed by the Centre with respect to the scholarships for SC/ST students,” senior BJD MLA Lal Bihari Himrika.