Scholarship scam a making of two regimes - ECAS Punjab

Scholarship scam a making of two regimes

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Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1

The alleged scam in the disbursal of SC post-matric scholarship scheme funds to educational institutions has previous SAD-BJP regime and the current Congress dispensation that came to power in 2017 under scanner.

Social Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot is in the eye of storm after a departmental probe questioned his role in the disbursal of funds which violated the Finance Department's instructions, while the Congress is arguing that the scam has its roots in the previous regime.

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has already assigned a thorough investigation into the case to Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, as there was a dispute between the minister concerned and the Social Welfare Department's Additional Chief Secretary.

Information accessed by The Tribune reveals that it was disbursal of Rs 248.11 crore out of the Rs 303 crore, which was released in three parts by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in February 2019 and March 2019, that has come under scanner. The Centre had released the payment on the basis of the reimbursement claims received from the Social Welfare Department for fiscal years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 when the SAD-BJP was in power.

"As the audit of the scam in the disbursal of the scholarship funds during the previous Akali government was underway, the Union Ministry started releasing the pending dues in 2019," said sources in the government.

In the departmental probe report submitted to the Chief Secretary on August 24, the disbursal of Rs 248.11 crore is under the scanner. Of this, the department disbursed Rs 39 crore to "ghost" institutions as the records of the distribution of the amount are missing. Another Rs 16.71 crore was wrongly disbursed to private educational institutions despite the Finance Department during its audit pointing out recovery of Rs 8 crore from the institutions which had been illegally given the scholarship amount.

Posers for government

  • Why were the Finance Department's instructions on DBT to beneficiaries not followed?
  • Why was the Cabinet decision against pick-and-chose policy in disbursal of funds ignored?
  • Why was the re-audit done when the Finance Department had already done the audit?
  • Why were different yardsticks adopted in giving approval to files pertaining to funds' disbursal?
  • Why are pages of the files missing; and why has double payment been made to some colleges?
  • Why were the entries of the minister's office missing on the files signed by him?

from The Tribune

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