Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi's leader and the Member of Chidambaram constituency, Dr. Thol Thirumavalavan condemned the denial of post-matric scholarship to SC ST, OBC students. MP has opposed Central government's move to replace post-matric scholarship for Scheduled castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Castes and Minorities with a single scheme, allotting the budget of only 7000 crores.
He said that the dropping of scholarships to marginalized students is an attempt to implement the outdated Manusmriti. Post matric scheme is a centrally sponsored scholarship which provides financial assistance to the Scheduled Caste students studying at post matriculation or post-secondary stage to enable them to complete their education. In an official statement made by the MP, he urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to continue with the post-matric scholarship like earlier.
"Several state governments have already announced that they would continue to implement the post-matric scholarship scheme making use of state government's funds in a bid to protect the students of these communities from the heinous plans of the Modi regime. However, the Tamil Nadu Government joining hands with Modi's Government has further reduced the paltry amount which was being allocated for this scheme by the state government," Thol Thirumavalavan said.
Demanding the same, students across India made tweet storm on November 30 with a hashtag 'Release Scholarships and Fellowships'. Students and researchers who are eligible for various fellowships and scholarships have been seeking a timely disbursal of funds to the government bodies.
VCK under Thirumavalavan condemned the act of denial of scholarship as 'Anti- Dalit', 'Anti- Adivasi' attitude of Central and State Governments. The Central Government has announced that only 7000 crores would be allocated for that entire programme. This will affect the chances of SC/ST students pursuing higher education. According to the reports considering this year alone, more than 60 lakh SC/ST students have been affected.
Speaking with Madhyamam, Siva Chandran, student wing member of VCK said "Many students from backward communities are the first generation to go for higher education. In such a critical condition, denial of government-funded scholarships will badly affect the financial stability of their family as well as students' future education.
He also pointed out that these measures pose a danger to the SC/ST students from completely losing their chance to secure higher education." If the scholarship to help SC/ST students who are staying in hostels is halted, it would lead them to quit their studies overnight as they would be unable to pay their hostel fees. Central government should stop anti-student policies. Stopping post-matric scholarship will surely affect the educational development of the students," he added.
VCK alleged that "Modi Government reduced the annual allocation from 6000 crores in 2018 for this educational scholarship drastically, cutting it by half, to only 3000 crores in the 2019 budget. As a result, several lakhs of Dalit students have had to stop their higher education abruptly. These are efforts to secretly implement the Manusmriti once again which states that Shudras and Casteless-Varnaless Panchamas should never be educated".
VCK has decided to organize webinars and virtual protests on this issue to condemn this attitude of the Central and State Governments.