Bhubaneswar: The Congress party on Saturday came down heavily on the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-led Odisha government for reducing the post-matric scholarship amount for poor meritorious students belonging to SC/ST categories.
The party has alleged that the State as well as the Centre is playing with the future of poor students by slashing the scholarship amount which had been fixed during the UPA government.
"The State government’s notification is bound to created hurdles for poor meritorious students. It will amount to playing with their career. It is unfortunate that the notification was issued by the SC/ST Development Department after the by-elections for the Balasore Sadar and Tirtol constituencies were over. Students were getting 100% scholarship during the UPA regime while the incumbent BJP-led Central government has reduced it substantially. It will discourage the students in pursing higher studies", Youth Congress president Smruti Ranjan Lenka said during a press conference.
Terming the decision ‘anti-dalit’ and anti student’ Lenka said it came at a time when people from all sections are passing through difficult times as their livelihood has been hit hard by the covid 19 pandemic.
Before the new notification was used, a B-Tech student used to draw Rs 60,000 per annum for his study expenses. However, now the amount has down to Rs 25000. Similarly, the scholarship amount for M-tech students has been reduced to Rs 25,000 from the earlier Rs 66000. The scholarships for MCA, MBA, BHMS and other professional courses have been reduced, he alleged.
"How can a student manage his study with such meagre amount when he/she used to receive more than double amount in the previous years?," he questioned.
Alleging that the BJP and BJD are two side of same coin, Lenka strongly demanded a complete withdrawal of the new notification for the students' scholarship, failing which the Congress would take the matter to the streets.
Responding to the Congress allegation BJP said the Opposition party has no other issue other than shouting. “It is quite clear that the Congress has lost its image in the State as well as Centre. They are shouting taking out their anxiety and desperation” BJP leader Prithivraj Harichandan said.