BJD stages demonstration over Centre neglecting SC/ST students

Bhubaneswar: Accusing the Centre of neglecting SC/ST students, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today staged a demonstration in front of Raj Bhawan protesting modification in central funding pattern for post matric scholarship.

“It shows the anti-development attitude of the Centre. The move to modify the post matric scholarship norms will push the future of nearly 2 lakh tribal students in the State into darkness. Due to such modification, Odisha is bearing an additional financial burden of around Rs 500 crore,” alleged Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera.

The ruling party alleged that the Centre has reduced the post-matric scholarship funds for Schedule Caste (SC) students. Until 2016-17, the Centre was providing 90 percent of funds while the state was bearing the remaining10 percent.

However, the Centre has revised the liability of the State Government during 2017-18, wherein the State had to bear the 80 percent of the total expenditure.

Expressing displeasure, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter had urged the Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot to restore the previous funding pattern of 90:10 for smooth implementation of the programme.

Recently, the ruling party had also created uproar in the State Assembly over the issue.