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Bihar Govt's scholarship boost for OBC and EBC students takes on BJP's Hindutva agenda

Bihar Govts scholarship boost for OBC and EBC students takes on BJPs Hindutva agenda

Patna: The ruling coalition in Bihar, led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has increased the annual scholarship amount for students from Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) pursuing professional courses from Rs 90,000 to Rs 4 lakh.

The move comes at a time when the government is conducting a caste census, which has temporarily been stayed by the state High Court, and has discontinued the Centre’s flagship Post Matric Scholarship for Scheduled Caste students citing the paucity of funds, according to a report published in The Indian Express.

The fully-funded scholarship, known as the “CM OBC/EBC Post-Entrance Scholarship Scheme,” will replace a similar Central government scheme and apply to students in Class 12 to those pursuing Master’s degrees or professional and technical courses such as management and engineering in government or private institutions in the state. Only those with Bihar domicile can apply for the aid.

The resolution approving this new scholarship was passed by the Bihar BC & EBC Welfare Department on March 23 and subsequently approved by the Department of Education. The scheme applies to several institutions, and the maximum amount an EBC or OBC student can receive in a year is clearly mentioned.

For instance, if an OBC or EBC student pursues a management course from the Chandragupta Institute of Management, Patna, or the LM Mishra Institute of Economic Development and Social Changes, Patna, or any similar institution, they can get up to Rs 4 lakh annually.

For IIT Patna, the scholarship slab is Rs 2 lakh, and for students pursuing degrees at the National Institute of Technology, Patna, or the National Law University, the scholarship ceiling is Rs 1.25 lakh. For IIM, Bodh Gaya, it is Rs 75,000. The minimum scholarship amount is Rs 2,000 for Class 12 students.

A senior education department official stated that the education department is the nodal agency to implement the scheme, and money will be drawn from the BC and EBC Welfare Department besides the Education Department. The department will soon invite applications for availing of the scheme, and it is too early to assess the annual cost of the programme.

The move assumes significance as it comes at a time when Bihar's ruling coalition is trying to sharpen its caste strategy to take on the BJP's Hindutva agenda. The state has an estimated 52 to 54% OBC-EBC population, with the OBC Kurmi community being Nitish Kumar's core support base, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal's (RJD) political foundation relying on the support of the Yadavs, also an OBC group.

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TAGS:Nitish KumarHindutva agendaBihar Govt scholarship boosScholarship for OBC and EBC students
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