Human resource development minister Smriti Irani had good news for the winners of Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) who were denied admission to the prestigious Delhi University in 2014. The scheme will be implemented this year in various DU colleges, the minister informed Rajya Sabha on Monday, March 9.
“The University of Delhi has reported that the special scholarship scheme will be implemented in various colleges of the university with effect from the academic year of 2015-2016,” Irani said in the upper house of Parliament, in response to a question by D Raja, member of Parliament. She also admitted that no PMSSS winner had been admitted to DU in 2014.
Earlier, during Parliament’s winter session in December 2014, when she was asked if DU had refused admission to the students, Irani had said: “college related information, if any, is not available/maintained in a consolidated manner by the University.” In response, HT Education had on January 21, 2015, published a list of 51 students who had been allotted DU colleges after counselling by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), which is responsible for implementing PMSSS. The question on December 17, 2014, had been raised by Gopalakrishnan Chinnaraj, an AIADMK MP, after HT Education’s September 5, 2014, story highlighted the plight of the scholarship winners who had been denied admission to various DU colleges.
Interestingly in her recent Parliament response, Irani chose to blame the scholarship winners for applying late to the DU colleges instead of holding AICTE responsible for delaying the counselling and allotment of provisional admission certificates to the students. “As per the admission schedule of the University of Delhi, the last date for admission to the undergraduate courses for the academic session 2014-2015 was July 31, 2014, whereas these students from Jammu and Kashmir sought admission under the Special Scholarship Scheme for Jammu and Kashmir in the colleges in September 2014, when the process of admission was already over. Therefore, these students could not be admitted in the University colleges in the academic session 2014-15,” she said.
A senior AICTE official, however, did not agree with the minister, adding , “It was AICTE which delayed the counselling to select the students. The reason was that AICTE had appealed to the Supreme Court (SC) for relaxation in dates because, according to the SC order, all admissions had to be closed and new sessions started in all technical institutions latest by August 30 every year. The apex court allowed us to hold the counselling till September 5 and till that date we allocated different colleges to about 2,012 students under the scheme.”
DU should not have had any problems in admitting the students after the admission deadline as all technical institutes (admissions of which take place under strict SC guidelines) admitted students on the basis of allotted provisional admission certificates given by AICTE, the officials said.
According to another AICTE source, out of the 2,012 students selected for admission in countrywide colleges and institutes under PMSSS in 2014, about 700 students, including 51 who were allocated DU colleges, couldn’t get admission to various colleges for all kinds of reasons. “All the medical colleges refused to admit the students saying they came under the regulatory purview of the Medical Council of India for which the Ministry of Health issues directions. AICTE also in some cases bungled up on the allocations, giving provisional admissions to male students for women’s colleges etc; or asked students to join with colleges that had closed down,” says the AICTE official.
“Had DU colleges and medical institutes cooperated, a large number of students would have been saved from harassment,” he adds.
J&K scheme: the story so far
# In August 2011, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approves the PMSSS for 5,000 students from Jammu and Kashmir. It is proposed that they be sent to other states for higher studies each year for five years
# For 2014-15, AICTE restricts the number of students to two intakes per college. In its counselling session in September 2014, it allocates government colleges/institutes to 2,102 students
# Many government and medical colleges, such as Delhi University colleges, refuse to admit the students saying they are unaware of any such scholarship scheme. HT Education, on November 5, 2014, highlights the plight of the students and reports that DU colleges have refused to admit any PMSSS student
# Based on HT Education’s story, Gopalakrishnan Chinnaraj, an AIADMK MP, questions Smriti Irani, HRD minister, on December 17, 2014, in the Parliament on DU colleges not admitting a single student under the PMSSS. Irani says college related information, if any, is not available/maintained
# HT Education, on January 21, 2015 publishes a list of 51 students with their names and the respective college they were allotted for admission and reiterates the fact that no DU college has admitted any student under PMSSS
# This leads to another question in the Parliament, this time by parliamentarian D Raja, who asks, “Is a fact that not a single student…was admitted in DU colleges in 2014.” HRD minister says DU will admit the PMSSS students in 2015