Ration, fee link to hit students

HYDERABAD : Lakhs of students dependent on the fee reimbursement scheme are now afraid that their dreams of higher education will be shattered for the lack of a ration card.

The state government's latest proposal, which is under active consideration, is to link the fee reimbursement scheme with ration cards from the ensuing academic year (201112).

Students from reserved categories and economically backward classes are worried that if the proposal is accepted, then lakhs of eligible candidates will lose the fee reimbursement benefit due to lack of ration cards since it is not possible to obtain them within three months, by which time admissions to various courses will conclude.

Many parents say that they have been trying to obtain ration cards for the last two years in vain since the government has stopped issuing fresh cards citing the need to “weed out bogus cards“. Some parents and students said that they could not obtain ration cards till now though they were photographed by officials two years ago.

There are also fears that a large number of students will lose the benefit on account of the income limit prescribed for ration cards. While the annual income limit to obtain a ration card is `75,000, it is `1 lakh in the case of the fee reimbursement scheme.

The ration card issue has been widely debated in the recent Cabinet sub-committee meeting. The state govern ment's latest proposal, which is under active consideration, is to link the fee reimbursement scheme with ration cards from the ensuing academic year (201112). It is a huge disadvantage for students who don't have a ration card as they will lose the fee reimburse ment.

The ration card issue has been widely debated in the recent Cabinet sub-committee meeting. The committee has been entrusted with the responsibility of tightening the scheme and to ensure that the number of beneficiaries, which is presently 30 lakh, should be cut down drastically to the maximum possible extent to lessen the financial burden on the gov

ernment.

The government needs `6,800 crore this year to fund the scheme and it is not in a position to meet the demand due to “financial constraints”. It is still struggling to pay the arrears of `1,500 crore of last year after college managements approached the Supreme Court over the issue, which directed the government to clear all arrears by August.
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