Scholarship scam: Jharkhand changes process, physical checks must for all schools, applicants

Scholarship scam: Jharkhand changes process, physical checks must for all schools, applicants

DAYS when it registered FIRs to probe the felonious diversion of the Centre’s pre-Matric scholarship for poor minority students, supported the findings of Associate in Nursing investigation by The Indian specific, the Jharkhand government has ordered its officers to “physically verify” all colleges and candidates seeking to avail scholarships below the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs for 2020-21.

In a letter dated Nov nineteen, and sent to any or all Deputy Commissioners, Welfare Secretary Amitabh Kaushal conjointly directed that necessary steps be taken to recover the scholarship disbursed to pretend beneficiaries in “previous years”.

The letter observed The Indian specific investigation, that found that the scholarship was being siphoned off by a nexus of middlemen, college workers and district officers that either established pretend beneficiaries or duped students into material possession them apply on their behalf and pocket a share of the cash.

It aforesaid that physical verification is required to stop “recurrence of irregularities and embezzlement”.

The latest call assumes significance since even the Minority Affairs Ministry, that administers the theme, has not mandated a physical verification. The Centre had disbursed Rs 61 large integer to Jharkhand below the pre-Matric theme for a pair of019-20 — over 2 100000 students applied and over 84,000 got the scholarship.

But The Indian specific tracked many applications from fifteen colleges in six districts and located however multiple layers of verification, from the college to the state level, did not notice the scam despite checks like Aadhaar IDs and fingerprints.

Norms for the theme state that applications have to be compelled to be verified initial by selected nodal officers in colleges World Health Organization area unit registered with District Welfare Officers. The applications area unit then checked by the district and state nodal officers before being sent to the Minority Affairs Ministry, that verifies and uploads them on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) before disbursal through Direct profit Transfer (DBT).

But in many cases, The Indian specific found, middlemen either convinced college homeowners or nodal officers to produce the NSP login IDs and passwords or used pretend college letter pads to get them. Then, they concerned banking correspondents to open accounts of prospective beneficiaries victimisation their Aadhaar cards and fingerprints before applying on their behalf with facilitate from district officers.

Last week, the Dhanbad administration filed eleven FIRs naming many suspect for his or her role within the scam, together with middlemen World Health Organization allegedly “lured innocent people” to become “fake beneficiaries”, “submitted pretend KYC documents” at the welfare workplace and bypassed verification with facilitate from officers to urge colleges registered on the NSP.

The latest order said: “During physical verification, it ought to be created clear whether or not that student is from the institute involved and if they’re eligible.”

It directed Deputy Commissioners to depute officers for physical verification World Health Organization can submit a report with recommendations to the District Welfare Officer (DWO). supported the report, the DWO can verify the candidates on the NSP. The list ready by the DWO are going to be additional reviewed by a senior officer below “intense supervision”.

Any irregularity found can end in cancellation of the registration of institutes, the order aforesaid. “Regarding the renewal of applications…if found throughout the physical verification that the candidates and documents don’t seem to be as per submitted, then cancel the registration…and guarantee necessary steps, as per rules, to urge back the scholarship cash paid to such candidates within the previous years,” it expressed.

Under the theme, students from category one to five receive Rs1,000 each year, and students of sophistication vi to ten receive Rs 5,700 a year if they’re day students or Rs 10,700 if they’re during a hostel. Most of the corruption is expounded to those last 2 classes.

“It ought to be conjointly checked whether or not or not the institutes applying for hostels have hostel infrastructure,” the Welfare Secretary’s letter expressed.

It found out that the Disaster Management Department had ordered hostels within the state to be vacated in sight of the pandemic, and directed that each one applications below the class ought to be rejected.

As a part of its investigation, The Indian specific matched entries on the NSP with beneficiary bank accounts within the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) to seek out cases of the scholarship being lawlessly amused in Jharkhand and province. It found that the scam roped in colleges from Punjab and province also.

Two weeks past, when The Indian specific printed a series of reports on the scam, the Ministry of Minority Affairs set to raise the CBI to analyze. Police in Bihar’s Gaya have conjointly registered Associate in Nursing FIR.

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