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Tussle holds up national scholarship

New Delhi, Feb. 10: The NCERT has delayed a decision on giving national scholarships to 32 more children who became eligible after it lowered qualifying marks because of an error in the qualifying test.

The NCERT chief has pleaded helplessness in implementing the marks-cut move for the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) of 2012 citing court cases.

Ministry officials see this as a sign of defiance as the council’s executive panel, its top decision-making body headed by HRD minister M.M. Pallam Raju, had taken the decision to revise the score. “It was a mistake of the NCERT. Genuine children were penalised. Now they (NCERT) are adamant not to implement the decision of the committee headed by the minister,” an HRD official said.

The council conducts the NTSE every year under which a scholarship of Rs 500 per month is given till PhD.

In the 2012 paper, one multiple-choice question had two correct answers. To take care of the mistake, the NCERT decided to award zero for the question. As a result, 40 children dropped off the merit list. The qualifying mark was originally 148.

Parents of the 40 children moved various high courts. Many met minister Raju. Last month, the NCERT committee headed by him decided to lower the qualifying mark to 147 to accommodate the 40. However, another 32 children became eligible as they too had secured 147. The committee then decided to select all the 72 students, taking the total to 1,072.

But NCERT director Pravin Sinclair said: “Nobody can implement this decision. The matter is in court.”