Is the ministry of human resource development unaware of the plight of hundreds of talented students, many of them toppers, from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), selected for the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS)? The students were promised admission in prestigious institutes around the country (see HT Education’s story dated Nov 5, 2014) but when questioned in Parliament in the Lok Sabha in its last winter session as to why any scholarship-winning student had not been admitted to Delhi University (DU) colleges, the MHRD responded that it had no data.
Gopalakrishnan Chinnaraj, an AIADMK MP, had questioned Smriti Irani, HRD minister, in Parliament on DU colleges not admitting a single student under the PMSSS and wanted to know why this had not been done. The MHRD then sent a mail to the University Grants Commission (UGC) “to furnish the reply in soft copy to the ministry immediately.” UGC wrote to the dean of colleges and registrar, DU, and all the affiliated DU colleges to “send the reply to MHRD directly through fax/email under the intimation of this office (UGC).”
Irani’s response in Parliament to Chinnaraj’s question finally was that “the University of Delhi has reported that the Prime Minister’s special scholarship scheme has not been dealt by the University. However, college related information, if any, is not available/maintained in a consolidated manner by the University.”
A UGC source told this correspondent, “41 DU colleges, asked by UGC to furnish information on PMSSS admissions, informed the MHRD, UGC and DU that they had not admitted any such student. A majority of colleges wrote that they were not aware of any such scheme.”
“It would have been embarrassing for the HRD minister to admit in Parliament that PMSSS had not been implemented in DU colleges even though it runs under the aegis of the Prime Minister of India and is supervised by an inter-ministerial committee chaired by secretary, higher education, with top representatives of various other ministries. So the minister (HRD) said that the ministry did not have the ‘complete data’,” adds the source.
AICTE, the PMSSS implementing body, has confirmed that no DU college has reported to it for any grants against the admission of J-K students, which itself indicates that no college has admitted any scholarship winner from J-K.
“AICTE wrote several times to the UGC asking for help to get the students admitted to various colleges. Even Jaspal Singh Sandhu, secretary, UGC, wrote quite a few times to the vice chancellor, Delhi University, requesting him to look into the matter but there was no response. Till today, DU has not issued any direction to any college about the matter. Colleges affiliated to DU only take instructions from the University,” says a DU college principal.
Major changes were incorporated in PMSSS, which was launched in 2011, after AICTE realised that private universities were, out of greed, luring hundreds of J-K students to access as much of the government’s grant as possible. So, in September 2014, AICTE held counselling sessions and allotted colleges to students.
AICTE issued letters to the students asking them to join colleges they were qualified to join. DU institutes, which were not under AICTE regulatory purview, however, refused to admit the students and they had to make innumerable rounds of the colleges, and offices of the DU VC, UGC, AICTE and MHRD – but they were all turned away.