Aquib Javed, a BTech student from Bihar, never got a minorities-only scholarship he had applied for last year. He wasn’t sure if his application was processed in the first place.
In 2010, the largest number of complaints of missing scholarships came from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.
On Friday, Javed, applied again, but online. And transparency kicked in at once. Instantly, a reference number was sent to his mobile phone. His institute and the local welfare department were also alerted through a centralised web-based information system.
Minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid, on whose desk the buck stops when things go wrong, can now access Javed’s form too by logging in to www.momascholarship.gov.in.Javed’s institute will vet his application, then forward it to local authorities, before sending to the ministry, with Javed tracking his application at each stop.
The popular scholarships were announced after the high-level Sachar Commission had found in 2006 that Muslims make up only 5% of undergraduates.
From scholarships to online management of Muslim endowment called wakf, India is calling IT into play, as it moves to the next level of implementing Sachar report’s recommendations.
“(It is) a major milestone," Khurshid said, as he witnessed the first applications being filled online on a giant projector in his office.
But this could be springboard for something far more critical — digital integration of minority-specific data for policy-makers. “Finally we hope to integrate our schemes into the Aadhar project,” minority affairs secretary Vivek Mehrotra said.