The government on Thursday that the Maulana Azad National Fellowship, a scholarship for students from minority communities, will be discontinued from this academic year.
Union Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani said that the decision was made as the fellowship overlapped with other schemes.
Speaking at the Lok Sabha, she said, “The MANF scheme was implemented by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and as per the data provided by UGC. 6,722 candidates were selected under the scheme between 2014-15 and 2021-22 and fellowships to the tune of ₹ 738.85 crores were distributed during the same period.”
“Since the MANF scheme overlaps with various other fellowship schemes for higher education being implemented by the Government and minority students are already covered under such schemes, hence the government has decided to discontinue the MANF Scheme from 2022-23,” Irani continued.
Launched in 2009, the Maulana Azad National Fellowship provided five-year financial assistance to students from six notified minority communities – Buddhists, Christians, Jains, Muslims, Parsis and Sikhs to pursue MPhil and PhD.
The scheme covers all Universities/Institutions recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The scheme was launched following the recommendations of the Sachar Committee, that had studied the socio-economic conditions of Muslim students in India.
Calling it “injustice”, Congress MP TN Prathapan said that the move will restrict many students to pursue their higher education. He said that he would raise the issue in the Parliament, according to The Hindu.