Hyderabad, October 2, 2021: Former Minister & ex-Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir on Saturday alleged that as many as 1,29,719 students belonging to minority communities have discontinued their higher education under the TRS regime since 2014.
Addressing a press conference at his residence in Jubilee Hills, Shabbir Ali said that the statistics were based on the official data presented by Welfare Minister Koppula Eshwar in Telangana Legislature in the ongoing session. He said that the State Government has ruined the careers of over 1.29 lakh minority students by not giving them Post Matric Scholarships (MTF) and Reimbursement of Tuition Fee (RTF). He said many bright students, including toppers, were forced to discontinue their education as they neither got Fee Reimbursement nor Scholarship amount from the State Government.
Citing an example, Shabbir Ali said one bright student from Nizamabad, Maria Sultana, studying Masters in Public Health from the University of Hyderabad approached him seeking help. Maria Sultana is the daughter of a senior journalist M.A. Rafeeq. She was the university topper in the All India entrance exam for the year 2020. She had secured a 9.8 GPA in the first semester and a 9.6 GPA in the second semester. However, she was unable to study for the third semester due to a delay by the Telangana Government in releasing the scholarship. She approached Shabbir Ali seeking financial assistance to pay the third-semester fee of Rs. 47,315.
Maria Sultana and her father Rafeeq were also present at the press conference and the girl requested the government to ensure that her studies do not get affected due to delay in the release of the scholarship amount.
Shabbir Ali said that the case of Maria Sultan was just the tip of an iceberg. He alleged that the TRS Government stopped giving fund for Post Matric Scholarships and Fee Reimbursement as a conspiracy to prevent minority students from getting higher education. “When Congress party was in power in 2013-14, a total of 1,17,073 students were getting Post Matric Scholarships and the allocated amount was Rs. 35.77 Crore. Today this number got reduced to 71,591 and the allocation has been slashed to Rs. 18.92 Crore. The statistics of 2013-14 and also 2012-13 were furnished on 9th September 2017, by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao himself when he made a statement in the Legislative Council on Minorities Welfare,” he said.
“Covid-19 pandemic is just an excuse. The colleges were closed for all students. If there was a rule that scholarship will not be given for the lockdown period, then it should be applied to all. But the TRS Govt randomly reduced the number of beneficiaries and slashed their actual number by nearly 40%,” he alleged.
Similarly, he said the Reimbursement of Tuition Fee (RTF) scheme was introduced by the previous Congress Govt to help minority students get higher education from Intermediate to PG courses, including professional courses. But TRS Govt stopped this scheme to ruin the careers of thousands of minority students. He said that the number of beneficiaries from minority communities under RTF got reduced by 84,237 in the last seven years. While the then Congress Govt spent Rs. 192.85 Crore on 1,17,073 beneficiaries in 2013-14, the present TRS Government has reduced the amount to just Rs. 49.44 Crore while the number of beneficiaries got reduced to only 32,836.
“Minority students are being forced to quit their higher studies mid-way due to non-clearance of Fee Reimbursement dues. Number of beneficiaries under TRS Rule compared to Congress Govt has reduced by 71% and the allocation by 74%,” he said.
Shabbir Ali also pointed out that Pre Matric Scholarship scheme was also not being implemented properly. “TRS Govt should be ashamed of claiming that this scheme even exists. It was started in 2015-16 by the TRS Govt. CM KCR had claimed that this scheme will benefit 90,000 students and allocated Rs. 30 crores. While just Rs. 18.37 Crore were released in the years 2015-16 and 2018-19 under Pre-Matric Scholarship, only Rs. 2.86 Crore were released in 2018-19 although the allocation was Rs. 30 crores,” he said.
“The TRS Government has become so insensitive that it is making false claims without any shame. As against the allocation of Rs. 15 Crore for the year 2019-20, only Rs. 7.28 lakh were released. But this figure was shown as “Rs. 0.0728 Cr”,” he said.
Shabbir Ali said that the data on CM’s Overseas Scholarship Scheme furnished by the Minister was self-contradictory. The State Government is silent on pending applications, but it is using those numbers to show more beneficiaries. For example, he said no amount was released in the year 2020. But beneficiaries are being shown as “297”. “Is the government counting all ‘Applicants’ as ‘Beneficiaries’? he asked.
The TPCC Political Affairs Committee Convener announced that the Congress party would approach all the students who discontinued their higher studies due to non-clearance of Fee Reimbursement or delay in clearing scholarships to take up their cases with the State Government. “By implementing schemes like Fee Reimbursement and Scholarships, the previous Congress Government tried to empower the Muslims and other backward classes with education. But TRS Govt is ruining their careers by either discontinuing or reducing funds for education-related schemes. He said that the Congress party would fight for such cases during the “Vidhyarthi, Nirudyoga Jung Siren” campaign launched today.