Delay in software devpt slows down scholarship payment

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At least 30 lakh college students are yet to receive post-matric scholarships this year. Reason: the e-Governance department could not put together a software in time for the process to start, leading to delay.

This includes about 29 lakh backward class and over 1.50 lakh SC/ST students.

All scholarships in the state were to be brought under a single online platform - the State Scholarship Portal (SSP) - in order to prevent students from having to apply to individual departments.

Launched in September, the SSP is currently configured to process pre-matric scholarships (Classes 1-10). Since its launch, as many as 54.33 lakh students have applied for pre-matric scholarships this academic year.

Pre-matric scholarships of the Social Welfare, Tribal Welfare, Backward Classes Welfare and Minority Welfare departments were brought under the SSP.

For post-matric scholarships, these four departments were asked not to go ahead with their existing method and that a software would be made ready under the SSP. “The e-Governance department asked us to hold on, but later informed us that the software will not be ready. So we went ahead on our own,” Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge said.

His department uses the Scholarship Management Information System (SMIS), according to which 1.03 lakh SC/ST post-matric scholarships have been sanctioned and another 1.54 lakh are pending.

Similarly, the Minority Welfare Department reverted to the National Scholarships Portal for post-matric scholarships. The Backward Classes Welfare department ended up using its own e-Pass system.

“We should have finished our process by November 15, but because of the delay this time, we still have 9 lakh applications that need to be verified,” Backward Classes Welfare secretary Mohammed Mohsin said. His department has finished verification for 20 lakh applications. “Payments will be made to the students’ Aadhaar-linked bank accounts in a week’s time.”

Mohsin pointed out that he approached Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar seeking permission to go ahead with starting the post-matric scholarship process, in the face of delay posed by the SSP.

Sources said Bhaskar has directed Additional Chief Secretary-cum-Development Commissioner Vandita Sharma to sort out issues facing the SSP.

“For pre-matric scholarships, we have a ready database with the Education department. But there’s no such database in the higher education space for post-matric scholarships. We’re in talks with the Higher Education department to figure it out,” an e-Governance official
said.

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