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Govt holds out UID carrot in scholarships

Ranchi, July 8: Aadhaar numbers have made their way to state-sponsored scholarships for students belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and tribal categories.

The state welfare department, which recently issued a public notice inviting applications for post-matric scholarships from students of colleges and institutions of higher learning, has promised to give preference to applicants who mention unique identification (UID) numbers in their forms.

“The students, who will have UID numbers and mention them on their applications, will be sent their scholarship amounts first. Those lacking UID numbers will be handed their scholarship later,” said R.K. Ranjan, deputy director of state welfare department.

The deputy director, however, clarified that students, who do not have Aadhaar numbers, would not be left out. The preferential approach was only meant to encourage students to register for UID numbers immediately.

“We have asked the students to contact the agencies that are registering applicants for issuing UID numbers in their respective areas,” Ranjan added.

The welfare department had issued the notice on June 30 inviting applications for scholarships. Students from colleges and institutions of higher education in Jharkhand as well as outside can apply for the scholarships from July 15. Last date of submitting applications is October 30.

Ranjan added that starting next year students would need to produce Aadhaar numbers to apply for and benefit from post-matric scholarships.

This step is aimed at eliminating any scope of misappropriation in distribution of scholarships. Besides, the welfare department will directly transfer the scholarship sums to the bank accounts of beneficiaries to maintain transparency.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has so far issued Aadhaar numbers to nearly 7 lakh people in Jharkhand, besides enrolling 22 lakh individuals. The welfare department has set its eyes on covering nearly half of the 2.6-crore population of Jharkhand by the beginning of the next financial year.

This apart, the department has introduced the facility of submitting online applications for scholarships from this year.

Further, applying online has been made mandatory for students seeking post-matric scholarships. However, they need to submit hard copies of their applications as well.

While students in colleges across the state have to submit hard copies of their applications at the office of the district welfare officer, students studying in colleges and institutions outside Jharkhand need to submit the same in Tribal Co-operative Development Corporation, Morabadi. The applications should also carry the bank account numbers of the students so that the scholarships can be transferred directly.

According to a rough estimate, well over 2.5 lakh students are studying in colleges and educational institutions across the state. The number of tribal, scheduled caste and OBC students, who are entitled to the benefits of post-matric scholarships, stands at just over one lakh.

The Jharkhand government annually spends more than Rs 30 crore on student scholarships.

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