SC scholarship fund row: BJD hits streets, demands restoration of 90:10 fund sharing between Centre-State

Bhubaneswar: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Saturday staged relay dharna near the Raj Bhavan here protesting against Centre’s decision to change the funding pattern of post-metric scholarship scheme for scheduled caste (SC) students.

Demanding immediate restoration of 90:10 fund sharing between the Centre and State, the protestors led by Finance Minister Sahsibhusan Behera, ST and SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Ramesh Chandra Majhi said the BJP-led NDA Government’s decision to change the funding pattern would have an additional financial burden of Rs 238 crore on the State Government.

Almost all the SC and ST Ministers, MPs and MLAs, attended the protest rally.

Under the scheme, the Centre used to provide 90 per cent of fund while the remaining 10 per cent was borne by the State Government. But, from 2017-18 onwards, the Centre revised the funding pattern wherein the State Government was asked to bear 80 per cent of the total expenditure.

Accordingly, in 2017-18, the State Government provided Rs 238.28 crore while the Centre released its share of 20 per cent (Rs 35.12 crore) towards scholarship amount of SC students.

And the BJD is opposing the move. Recently, the regional party also raised the issue in the Assembly.

On November 17, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also urged Union Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot to restore the 90:10 fund sharing pattern between the Central and State Governments.

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