Visa Crunch

Indian Government Scraps Study Abroad Scholarships Leaving Dalit, Tribal Students

The news could not be worse for students from vulnerable sections fighting for a better life. The Centre is phasing out National Overseas Scholarship (NOS) that help Dalits, students from landless farmers and tribals to study abroad. The number of scholarship beneficiaries has declined steadily over the past six years. The Modi govt has withdrawn scholarships for overseas study of Indian culture, social science and heritage.

The scrapping comes even as there is not much time left to apply for these scholarships. NOS is implemented via the Union Ministry For Social Justice. The Ministry has not mulled changing criteria for the scholarships. At least, not yet and the deadline for applying for the scholarships is 31 March.

The scholarships for subjects in Humanities was started in 2012. Each year since, 100 students received these scholarships until six years ago when, the numbers reduced steadily touching a low of just 39 scholarships in the year 2021-22. The grant for the scholarships was slashed to Rs 20 crore.

Only 50-70 persons on average have secured scholarships in the past six years and only minuscule from the weaker sections secure scholarships from studies abroad. That hope has now however hit a roadblock. Washing hands-off Humanities and Social Science subjects will defeat the purpose of this scholarship. With funds from the Centre failing to come through, UGC fellowships too have shrunk in numbers over the past six years.

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