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No NAAC, no scholarship from academic year 2018-19

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NAGPUR: The state department of higher education has, for the first time, said that scholarship will be paid to post-matric students only if they are enrolled in colleges accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). The norm is not applicable for the current academic year but from 2018-19 session.
The decision was notified through a government resolution in October 2017 and the department has given time to colleges to prepare for its implementation in a phased manner. The state has made an exception for this year, since the academic year had already started when the GR was notified, and the state didn’t want students to miss the sops if their institute did not have NAAC accreditation.

In January, the state had to shut down the MahaDBT protal launched five months ago to disburse scholarship amounts directly into the accounts of beneficiaries. Colleges across the state were asked to return to the old system of applying in the offline mode. Now, several departments have started asking colleges to apply for the scholarship manually.

In her letter dated February 16, joint director (Nagpur region) Anjali Rahatgaonkardeliberately mentioned about NAAC certificate has to be attached along with students’ scholarship application to be made offline. The joint director included the condition to alert colleges and students about NAAC status well in advance.

She has asked students interested in applying for Rajashree Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Education Fee Scholarship for 2017-18 to apply offline by February 28. There are 500 colleges under the joint director of Nagpur region and it is expecting 10,000 applications for this scheme.

Though the condition has been laid down for this particular scheme, the move is being seen as a measure to ensure colleges, mostly unaided ones, adhere to UGCand government norms as far as infrastructure and faculty are concerned by next year.

Following technical issues, the government had to scrap its decision to process several post-matric scholarships through MahaDBT. The portal was started to curb malpractices and siphoning of funds by colleges, which were opened with the sole intention of cornering scholarship money running into crores. TOI has reported about the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) estimate of Rs7,000 crore scholarship scam. Such colleges generally lack infrastructure and faculty, which are at the centre of NAAC assessment.

Besides the portal, the NAAC requirement in scholarship applications would be adding another layer of scrutiny to ensure genuine claims are being made and money is reaching the intended needy students.


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