CHENNAI: Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore the pre-matric scholarship scheme to all minority students studying from 1st to 8 th standard.
"The government of India has abruptly withdrawn the minority scholarship provided under the Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme to students studying from 1st to 8th standard from the current year.
Given the withdrawal of the scholarship by the union government, nearly five lakh poor minority students studying from 1st standard to 8th standard in Tamil Nadu will be adversely affected and deprived of the benefits of the scholarship. Education is the most effective tool for empowering the poor and helping them lead dignified lives. Multiple surveys over the years have demonstrated that minorities, especially Muslims, are lagging in education.
This scholarship supports poor, underprivileged, and highly marginalized students, including girls, to access quality education and, therefore, must be continued,” said Stalin, in a DO letter.
Recently, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has stated that the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 makes it obligatory for the government to provide free and compulsory elementary education (from Classes I to VIII) to every child and hence only students studying in Classes IX and X will be eligible for the pre-matric scholarship scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
"I (Stalin) want to point out that this stance goes against the principle of supporting the needy in the crucial years of their early education. Further, this stance will affect all scholarships for children in classes I-VIII. Under this scheme, a sum of Rs 86.76 crore was sanctioned to 4,49,559 students from Tamil Nadu in 2021-2022," added Stalin.