New Delhi: Member of Parliaments (MPs) across political circles have demanded the Centre to rethink on its decision to scrap Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) for minority students aiming for higher education, while the pre-matric scholarship for the same will no longer apply from classes 1 to 8.
MPs from Congress, BJP, AIMIM, and BSP have demanded the rollback of the decision by the Centre over the negative impact it can have on minority students and researchers.
Calling the decision "anti-minority and anti-education", Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh, on Friday, stated that the decision jeopardizes the idea of Right to Education (RTE).
The MP from Kerala raised the matter in Lok Sabha during Zero Hour, which received support from leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Revolutionary Socialist Party MP N.K. Premchandran.
While stating that the decision is an insult to Maulana Azad and disregards sacrifices of freedom fighters, Suresh said scrapping MANF will make higher education inaccessible, according to IANS.
"The decision would make higher education inaccessible to the under-privileged students from minority communities, and it has a national impact as the scheme covered all institutions recognized by the University Grants Commission.
"The anti-minority sentiment behind the decision is evident, and the Union minority affairs minister Smriti Irani told the Lok Sabha that the Maulana Azad National Fellowship was overlapping with other schemes under which the minority students were also covered. The excuse defies logic as any overlap can be identified by linking the Fellowship with Aadhaar or other universal documents," Suresh said.
Other party members from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) also demanded reinstatement of the earlier rules for pre-matric scholarships and MANF fellowship.
BSP MP Danish Ali urged additional grants for minority students. "For prosperity of the country, everyone needs to be taken along. How can you leave minorities behind and prosper," asked Ali as per PTI.
The MP found support from AIMIM as MP Syed Imitaz Jaleel who asked about the progress of minority students.
"How will minority students study, how will they progress if this fellowship is stopped?" asked AIMIM MP Syed Imitiaz Jaleel.
Though BJP has remained united on the issue, MP Pritam Munde stood out as she stated that the decision on scrapping of scholarships was done without any prior intimation of thousands of students already applying for it.
" I demand that the government should rethink this decision. Education is free in right to education but this (scholarships) work as an encouragement for these students in schools,” said Munde in Lok Sabha.
“Looking at this issue from the point of view that students are not pushed towards child labour and stay on the path of education, the decision be revoked after a rethink,” Munde, who represents Maharashtra’s Beed, said.
(Inputs from Agencies)
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