1.  Objective :

Even after 50 years of independence and in spite of various measures taken to improve the level of education in the country, literacy levels among Backward classes, particularly among women, continues to be extremely low. The number of steps have already been taken by the Government and considerable progress has been achieved in improving the level of literacy and education during the last 50 years, but there is still a long way to go before respectable levels of literacy are achieved. It has been recognized now that education and economic support for Backward Classes has not been adequate and there is disparity between them and the non-backward sections of the population at every level. In view of the same, it is felt that earnest efforts are required to introduce various new schemes specifically for these target group i.e. backward classes to provide them a level playing field in comparison to non-backward sections of the population.

The position of women in terms of literacy among OBCs population is also a cause of concern. Considering the important role of women in shaping the size of the family and outlook of its members, investment in improving education among women of these communities will not only improve their social and economic status, but will also help in accelerating the socio-economic development of these communities and the nation as a whole.

Experience shows that children of OBCs from the poorer section to not go to schools as they often have to provide a helping hand to their parents in traditional occupation or otherwise supplement the family income. It is considered that a scheme of Pre-matric Scholarship would be helpful in spreading education amongst such children specially amongst the girl child of weaker sections. A scheme of Pre-matric Scholarship for the benfit of children belonging to weaker sections amongst OBCs has been formulated with this object in view.

2.  Scope :

OBCs living below double the poverty line from a bigger chunk of a population and there are disparities amongst OBCs themselves to start with, it is proposed to award scholarship to school going children of poorer OBC parents whose annual income is below double the poverty line.

3.  Eligibility :

Scholarship award will be sanctioned in the case of students whose parents/guardians income from all sources does not exceed Rs.44,500 per annum.

Note 1 : So long as either of the parents (or husband in the case of married unemployed girl student) are alive, only income of the parents/husband, as the case may be, from all sources will be taken into account and of no other members even though they may be earning. In the form of income declaration, income will be declared on this basis. Only in the case where both the parents (or husband in the case of married unemployed girl student) have died, the income of the guardian who is supporting the student in his/her studies will have to be taken into consideration. Such students whose parent's income is affected due to unfortunate death of one of earning parents are resultantly comes within the income ceiling prescribed under the scheme, shall become eligible for scholarship, subject to their fulfilling other conditions of eligibility, from the month in which such sad incidence takes place. Applications for scholarships from such students can be considered even after lapse of last date of receipt of applications, on compassionate grounds. 22

Note 2 : House Rent Allowance received by the parents of a student shall be exempted from the computation of 'income' if the same has been permitted to be exempted for purpose of Income-Tax.

Note 3 : Income Certificate is required to be taken once only, i.e. at the time of admission to course which are continuing for more than one year.

4.  Duration and Course of Studies :

The scholarships may be given to the students enrolled in class I or any subsequent class of pre-matric stage in the case of day scholars, and class III or any subsequent class of pre-matric stage in case of hostlers. The duration of scholarship in an academic year will be 10 months.

5.  Institution of Study :

The scholarship will be tenable only in such institutions and for such pre matriculation courses, which have been duly recognised by the concerned State Government and Union Territory Administrations.

6.  Coverage Value of Scholarship and Ad-hoc Grant :

I.   Hostelers :

The students as hostelers will be covered from class III to X. The rates of scholarships will be as under :-

Class III to VIII                  Rs. 200/- per month for 10 months

Class IX to X                    Rs. 250/- per month for 10 months

II.   Day Scholars :

The students as day scholars will be covered from Class I to Class X. The rates of scholarships will be as under :-

Class I to V                      Rs. 25/- per month for 10 months

Class VI to VIII                 Rs. 40/- per month for 10 months

Class IX to X                    Rs. 50/- per month for 10 months

III.   Ad-Hoc Grant :

An ad-hoc grant of Rs. 500/- per student per annum to all students i.e. hostelers as well as day scholars will also be given.

IV. The scholarship amount will be payable from the date of joining to the date of leaving the school, excluding the period of vacation, which will be about 10 months in a year except in the cases where the students enters late or leaves early in the midst of academic year.

7.  Administrative Authority :

The scheme will be implemented and administrated by the concerned State Government/Union Territory Administration in accordance with the procedure laid down by the State Governments/Union Territory Administration in this regard.

8.  Selection :

The concerned State Governments and Union Territory Administrations will lay down the detailed procedure for selection of students.

9.  Other Conditions for Award :

(i)   The Students may not be allowed to take up employment or render help to parents in their work during the course of studies.

(ii)   The award will be discontinued if a student fails to secure annual promotion except in case of unavoidable reasons to be certified by the competent authority of the scheme.

(iii)  If a student violates school discipline or any other terms and conditions of the scholarship, scholarship may be suspended or even cancelled, subject to the satisfaction of the competent school authority. The State Government/Union Territory Administrations can also directly cancel the award if duly satisfied of the reasons of violation of there regulations governing the scheme.

(iv)   Migration of students from one institution to another, would not normally be allowed during the course of academic year except under exceptional circumstances and in the interest of student's academic career.

(v)    The scholar obtaining benefits under this scheme shall not be allowed to avail of benefits under any other pre-matric scholarship scheme.

(vi)   The students should be regular in attendance for which the yardstick shall be decided by the competent authority of the school.

10.  Renewal of Scholarship :

The scholarship, once awarded, may be renewed during next academic year also by the concerned State Government/Union Territory Administration unless the competent authority of the school recommends to the State Government/Union Territory Administration, to discontinue the award with reference to relevant clause of these regulations governing the scheme.

11.  Announcement of Scheme :

The scheme will be announced by the concerned State Government/Union Territory Administration well in time, by giving advertisements in the leading language newspapers local dailies and by using other suitable publicity media.

12.  Mode of Applying :

The concerned Department of the State Government/Union Territory Administration will supply the application forms, which should received back by the Department along with prescribed certificate, by the last date.

13.  Pattern of Financial Assistance :

50% central assistance will be provided to State Government. The scholarship money will be paid to the selected students by the State Government/Union Territory Administration to which they belong in accordance with the procedure laid down by the State Government/Union Territory Administration in this regard. Remaining 50% will be borne by the State Government. The conformed budget availability towards State Government share of assistance will have to be shown by concerned State Government while applying for the central assistance under the scheme. In case of Union Territories 100% central assistance will be provided.

14.  Monitoring :

The monitoring of the financial and physical performance of the scheme will be done through seeking detailed information from the Agencies implementing the Scheme. On the physical aspects the Agencies implementing the scheme will be required to furnish quarterly progress report regarding the number of beneficiaries receiving award under the scheme, both class-wise and grade-wise. On the financial side details of actual expenditure incurred during the last financial year and expenditure proposed for the present financial year will be submitted by the Agencies concerned. The Agencies implementing the scheme will also be insisted upon to submit the latest audited accounts.

15.  Evaluation :

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment may get the scheme evaluated by entrusting a research study to reputed institutions/ agencies, on the performance of the Scheme in different parts of the country, under the Ministry's centrally sponsored Scheme of Research and Training.