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Underprivileged students living in rented homes may soon get hostel scholarship

Social Welfare and Justice Dept looking into demand for scholarships for poor backward class students

Underprivileged students from the backward classes who live in rented apartments rather than government hostels across the city and the state may soon be entitled to hostel scholarships. Education activists of the Republican Bahujan Mahasangh have demanded that the Social Welfare and Justice Department (SWJD) consider the plight of underprivileged students who do not get admission in hostels and are forced to live in rented apartments.

The activists want the SWJD to grant such students hostel scholarships for post-graduate courses, which in turn would offer them discounts of Rs 300 to Rs 500 depending on the courses they choose.
But those who live in rented private apartments are entitled to only day scholarship, where less benefits and discounts are offered on courses.

Sources say that the SWJD is in the process of looking into the matter and considering the demand.
"If the students are capable of producing NOC from the education department and their proper identities, then they should be given hostel scholarships. There are about 30-35 per cent students numbering about 25,000 living in rented apartments as there is less space in the hostels. Finding accommodation in Pune and other major cities due to the shortage of space is a problem. There is more demand and less supply and the students pay rent from their own pocket," said Dr Prakash Ambedkar, president of the Republican Bahujan Mahasangh.

Earlier, the SWJD and the education board would grant scholarship if annual income of the parents of a student was below Rs 2.5 lakh for degree holders, but last year due to pressure from social activists it had reduced the amount to Rs 1.5 lakh.

"The scholarships distributed from the centre at times do not have a matching status. Scholarship should be linked up with price index. The centre is not even increasing the amount of scholarship, which is of only few thousand rupees. We'll write to the state Education Ministry if it is not considered," said Ranjit Parab, another activist.

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