Centre extends PMSSS for J&K, Ladakh for five more years

5000 students to benefit every year

AICTE to spend Rs 180-190 cr annually

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, May 28: In a significant decision, the Central Government today extended Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for five years under which 5000 meritorious students each year are funded to study in private and Government educational institutions across the country.
The Government decided to continue the scholarship scheme along with a simultaneous focus on opening new educational institutions in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The Scheme was introduced in 2011 to provide funding to 5,000 meritorious students each year to study in both private and Government educational institutions in India. It was aimed at promoting employment opportunities for students from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh
A large number of students from both the Union Territories have benefitted from the Scheme. With its extension for five more years, more students will benefit in next five years.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is the Nodal Agency for implementation of the PMSSS with an annual budget of Rs 180- 190 crore.
“There has been a substantial increase in the number of applications received in the academic years 2020-21 and 2021-22, following a dip in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Increase was observed after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status were abrogated on August 5, 2019 and it was bifurcated into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh,” official sources told the Excelsior.
Sources said term of the scheme was due to end last year, but the Central Government has given nod for its extension for another five years in the interest of students of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The PMSSS offers 4,500 seats for general education courses (Bachelor’s in Arts, Commerce and Science), and 250 seats each for Engineering and Medical degrees.
The scholarship offered for general education courses is Rs 1.3 lakh, including Rs one lakh maintenance fee to cover hostel and mess charges, it is Rs 2.25 lakh for Engineering and Rs 4 lakh for Medical degrees.
Rs one lakh maintenance fee is common for all courses. So, three unoccupied general education seats are equivalent to one Medical seat and 1.8 Engineering seats, sources said.
Asserting that there are not many takers for general education seats, sources, however, said when these seats are not filled, they are converted on a pro rata basis into Engineering and Medical seats, raising the 500-seat limit.
They added that the conversion rate is different each year and that’s why all 5,000 seats are never filled.
However, data showed that in the past six years, 250 allotted Medical seats were not filled. In 2020-21, only 113 students joined the Medical stream through the PMSSS. In 2019-20, only 95 students opted for Medicine under the scheme.
While there were 25,970 and 24,455 applicants for the scholarship in 2020-21 and 2021-22, respectively, and 23,234 and 22,538 of them met the eligibility criteria, only 4,780 and 4,095 students finally joined colleges under the scheme.
Government expects that extension of the scheme will encourage students of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to pursue higher studies in leading institutes of the country.
Dwelling out reasons for students opting out of the scheme, sources said they include securing admission in a college of their choice in J&K or Ladakh, besides the language barrier.
But they maintained that such seats do not remain vacant as they are opened for diploma holders in the following academic year.
They added that if after Class 10, a student has pursued a diploma, then he or she may gain admission directly to the second year of engineering. So, they then complete engineering in three years instead of four.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for extension of PMSSS.
“Grateful to PM Narendra Modi and Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan for extending PMSSS for J&K students for another 5 years. With thousands of scholarships available every year, scheme will provide opportunities to our youth to dream big & means to realize their dreams,” Office of LG J&K tweeted.

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