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Govt discontinued Maulana Azad Fellowship as it overlaps other schemes

During this year's Budget, the ministry's allocation was slashed by as much as 38 per cent, with a massive reduction in the allocation for pre-matric scholarships
Last Updated : 03 February 2023, 15:52 IST

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The Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) has been discontinued since it overlaps with various fellowship schemes for higher education, the minority affairs ministry said in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Replying to questions from several MPs, including Congress MPs Abdul Khaleque and K Muraleedharan, and BSP MP Danish Ali, the ministry said that students from minority communities are also covered under the schemes of the ministries of social justice and welfare, and tribal affairs.

The National Fellowship Schemes for Scheduled Castes and OBCs of the social justice ministry, and the tribal affairs ministry's National Fellowship Schemes for Scheduled Tribes carry the same benefits, the ministry said in its reply.

Pre-matric scholarships, the ministry said, have been revised from 2022-23, and now only students from the 9th and 10th standards can apply for it, since the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 provides for free and compulsory education for elementary classes, from the 1st standard to the 8th, the ministry said.

"This modification has also been done to harmonise the scheme with identical scholarship schemes implemented by other Central government ministries," minority affairs minister Smriti Irani said in her written reply.

The ministry has discontinued the MANF fellowship scheme, which carried a monthly grant of up to Rs 25,000 for PhD and MPhil students from minority communities, since December last year. The move has led to a lot of outrage from Opposition MPs.

"It has been observed that the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) Scheme of UGC and CSIR is open for students of all categories. As the MANF Scheme overlaps with various fellowship schemes for higher education, the government has decided to discontinue the MANF Scheme from 2022-23," the reply reads.

During this year's Budget, the ministry's allocation was slashed by as much as 38 per cent, with a massive reduction in the allocation for pre-matric scholarships, which fell from Rs 1,425 crore in 2022-23 to Rs 433 crore in 2023-24.

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Published 02 February 2023, 18:58 IST

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