Thousands of Himachal’s disabled denied scholarship, No budget, says Govt: DSA
Shimla: The disabled students in Himachal Pradesh are facing a hard time in claiming their rights to equality and equal opportunities in the field of academics. Despite claims of the state government, the welfare of the disables remains confined to official government files.
It is a matter of shame for the government that even the disables are forced to fight for their constitutional rights.
Earlier, the disabled students were denied admission in HP University for the session 2017-18. The varsity had sent several disabled students back saying the varsity has not implemented the new provisions of five percent reservation for disabled students under the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016.
When a blind student approached the State High Court with this complaint, the State government and the varsity were ordered to enroll the students as per the provision.
As a tight slap on the face of the University and the State Government, the court had also asked them to explain the reasons for not ensuring five percent quota in higher educational institutes for the disabled students despite provisions.
Now, the Disabled Student Association has alleged the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment of withholding scholarships of the thousands of disables studying at the government educational institutes.
The list also includes HP University students.
As per the legal provision and orders of the State High Court, there is a provision of Rs.1750 per month as scholarship to the disabled students studying at higher education institutes. This amount is Rs. 3000 per month for student living in hostels.
However, these students were denied the scholarship.
The DSA said when these students approached the Directorate of Scheduled Cast, OBC, and Minority Affairs; they were told that there is no budget for their scholarship.
It said Yoga Devi (MA), Priyanka Devi (LLM), Mukesh (B.Ed), Mira Devi and Neha (both MA Political Science), Hem Singh (M.Com), Vikesh Kumar (MA History), and Mohit Kapor (MA Music) have not received their scholarships.
Majority of these disables belong to economically weaker sections of the society and arrived from remote regions in hope of higher education.
The Association also alleged the state government of neglecting disabled students on every level from primary schools to varsities.
The state government was dragged to court several times by disabled students, NGOs like Umang Foundation, and Students Disabled Association over negligence of the state government to facilitate their education from primary to higher education through the implementation of various Centre and State schemes.
The State High Court had also ordered the government to ensure free education to disabled students and enhance the amounts of their scholarships in schools, colleges, and universities.
The DSA recently wrote a letter to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh with a plea to intervene and order the release of pending scholarships to these students.