NMMSS Scholarships for poor children dropped 51.9% in five years: Government Data

NMMSS Scholarships: The government has proposed an outlay of Rs 1,827.00 crores to support 14.76 lakh poor children through school over 2021-26.

NMMSS Scholarships for poor children dropped 51.9% in five years: Government Data The central government provides 100 percent funds under the NMMS scheme. (Representational Image: Shutterstock)
Sanjay | Jul 27, 2022 - 8:04 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The number of scholarships granted under the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS) has witnessed a sharp drop of 51.9 percent in the last five years. While a total of 4,29,955 scholarships were granted in 2017-18, the number dropped to 2,06,794 in 2021-22, according to the education ministry data shared with Parliament on Wednesday.

The written reply by minister of states (MoS) education, Annpurna Devi in response to questions asked by Jose K Mani, Congress Rajya Sabha MP, shows a continuous decline in the number of scholarships granted under the scheme over the last five years.

The NMMSS is a central sector scheme which was launched in 2008 to provide scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections. The objective of the scheme is to prevent their drop out at Class 8 and encourage them to continue the study at secondary stage. According to Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) data, the annual dropout rates of secondary school students in 2020-21 stands at 14 percent. Children dropping out of school had become a major cause for concern during the prolonged school closure and financial hardships during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the education ministry data, the number of scholarships under NMMSS in financial year 2017-18 was 4,29,955 and dropped to 2,80,330 in 2018-19 – a drop of 34 percent in one year.

In 2019-20, the number of scholarships reduced to 2,80,221 and it stood at 2,67,503 in 2020-21 – a drop of 4.5 percent. The number of scholarships under NMMSS drastically dropped to 2,06,794 in 2021-22 - a drop of 60,709 scholarships from 2020-21, or 22 percent and 2,23,161 scholarships from 2017-18 (51.9 percent).

Also Read | Number of SC, ST students getting means-cum-merit scholarship dropped 17.47%, 27% in 2021-22

Except seven states and UTs – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Mizoram, Pudducherry and Rajasthan – all witnessed a sharp drop in the number of scholarships disbursed to students in the past five years.

Bihar witnessed a drop of 19,511 scholarships in the last five years as the number of scholarships dropped from 29,540 in 2017-18 to 10,029 in 2021-22. Gujarat saw a drop of 26,443 scholarships in the last five years as the number of scholarships dropped from 39,470 in 2017-18 to 13,027 in 2021-22.

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Number of scholarships under NMMSS in Maharashtra dropped from 66,355 in 2017-18 to 36,424 in 2021-22 – reduction of 29,931 scholarships in five years. In Tamil Nadu, the number of scholarships reduced to 22,215 in 2021-22 from 53,278 in 2017-18 and in Uttar Pradesh, it reduced to 5,772 from 14,141 in the same period.

NMMSS Scholarships: Funding

Under the scheme, one lakh fresh scholarships of Rs 12,000 per annum per student are awarded to selected students of Class 9 every year and their continuation or renewal in Classes 10 to 12 for study in a state government, government-aided and local body schools. The students are selected through an entrance test conducted by the states or Union Territories. The central government provides 100 percent funds under the scheme.

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In February 2022, the government had approved the continuation of NMMSS over the 15th Finance Commission cycle for a period of five years, from 2021-22 to 2025-26 with financial outlay of Rs 1,827.00 crore. The government also modified the eligibility criteria such as increasing income ceiling from Rs 1.5 lakh per annum to Rs 3.5 lakh per annum and revising the renewal criteria under the scheme.

Registration and renewal of the scheme are both through the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) from 2018-19.

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As many as 22.06 lakh scholarships under NMMSS have been sanctioned till 2020-21 involving an expenditure of Rs 1783.03 crore. The government in February 2022 proposed to disburse scholarships to 14.76 lakh students with the financial outlay of Rs 1827.00 crores approved for the scheme from 2021-22 to 2025-26.


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