On December 5, during the ongoing winter parliamentary session, Kodikunnil Suresh raised questions regarding the scholarships provided to OBCs (Other Backward Class) in the Lok Sabha. Through his question, Suresh inquired whether the union government is aware of the increased delay in stipends of the scholarship schemes meant to help scholars from the OBC groups. Suresh is an Indian Politician and the working president of the Kerela Pradesh Congress Committee. These questions were presented to Dr. Virendra Kumar, who is a member of the Lok Sabha representing the Tikamgarh constituency. He is serving as the union minister of social justice and empowerment.
In its response, the union minister apprised the Lok Sabha by providing that the scheme of National Fellowship for OBCs was introduced in the year 2014-15. Kumar asserted that for the year 2022-23, stipends had been released to all eligible beneficiaries by the end of 2022-23. In furtherance they said that to ensure timely release, the system of Central Nodal Agency (CNA) has been adopted and it aims to ensure release of the stipends to scholars within the prescribed time limit.
The answer contains the details and the number of beneficiaries of the scholarship during the last 5 years. From the data, it can be observed that there has been a gradual increase in the scholarships provided to OBCs. As per the data, there has been an increase in the number of beneficiaries, from 670 beneficiaries in 2018 to 1570 in 2023, depicting a growth of more than a double in a span of 5 years.
When the provided figures are looked at state – wise, it can be observed that there are some states in which scholarships to OBCs have been decreasing in the last few years. In the state of Goa, a significant increase in the number of beneficiaries in the early years can be observed, from 7 in 2018 to 13 in 2019, pursuant to which there has been a gradual decrease till date. The same pattern is followed by the states of Assam, Sikkim, Gujrat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh, with there being a good amount of increase in the beneficiaries for the first or second year, post which a decline can be seen.
It is also crucial to note that a pattern of gradual increase in number of beneficiaries of the said scholarships can also be seen in some states where there is a pattern of gradual increase in the number of beneficiaries each year. The states included are Bihar, Kerala, Odisha, Punjab, Haryana, Manipur, Tripura, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
Notably, the highest number of beneficiaries each year from 2018 to 2023 has been from Uttar Pradesh- 133 in 2018, 202 in 2019, 223 in 2020, 243 in 2021, 325 in 2022. As can be deduced from the data, the number of beneficiaries in the state have also increased. On the other hand, the lowest number of beneficiaries have been from Arunachal Pradesh, which received 0 beneficiaries for the first three years and has received a total of 5 beneficiaries in the last two years.
It is pertinent that while we appreciate the overall increase in the number of scholarships provided, focus is also on ensuring that all states follow a positive pattern, with increase in the number of beneficiaries, and ensure that an equitable number of beneficiaries exist in accordance to the population of each state.
The table provided in the answer is as follows:
The complete answer can be read here: