BJP leader Sampla slams Punjab minister Cheema for 'misleading' on post matric scholarship scheme

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Chandigarh, Jun 10 (PTI) BJP leader and former Union minister Vijay Sampla on Monday rejected as "baseless and misleading" Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema's charge that the Centre did not release funds meant for the post-matric scholarship scheme for Scheduled Caste students.

Cheema said on Sunday that under the Post Matric Scholarship Scheme, the central government gives 60 per cent of the funds and the state government 40 per cent, but after 2017, neither the Centre gave its share of the funds nor did the previous Congress government in the state released its share.

The finance minister also said that the Aam Aadmi Party government released the outstanding amount of Rs 366 crore for 2017 to 2022 in 2023-24.

Refuting Cheema's allegation, Sampla said, "According to data from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Union government released Rs 229 crore for Dalit students in Punjab in the financial year 2020-21, in addition to Rs 140 crore that was lying unutilised by the Punjab government." The Punjab government had acknowledged that the central government's funds of Rs 140 crore remained unutilised, he said.

In 2021-22, 1.92 lakh students were eligible for the scheme and the central government released Rs 272.73 crore for them, Sampla said.

For 2022-23, the Punjab government reported 1.98 lakh eligible students, and the central government released Rs 248.99 crore, he added.

"For the year 2023-24, the Punjab government is yet to compile the entire data. However, based on the data compiled so far, the central government has already released Rs 172 crore for around 79,000 students," Sampla said. PTI CHS IJT IJT