In a startling revelation, the Ministry of Minority Affairs' scrutiny of the 25.5 lakh applicants for the minority scholarship scheme has exposed a staggering scam, with over 6.7 lakh applicants identified as nonexistent during Aadhaar-based biometric authentication.
The investigation also unveiled the absence of 5,422 Institutional Nodal Officers (INO) and 4,834 Heads of Institutions (HoI) during the verification process.
Out of the total 25.5 lakh applicants, the ministry-led drive successfully verified 18.8 lakh individuals, including 6.2 lakh applicants seeking scholarship renewal.
Shockingly, under the renewal category for the academic year 2022-23, 30 per cent of applicants were found to be fraudulent, reported The Times Of India.
The ministry plans to share its findings on missing beneficiaries, nodal officers, and heads of institutions with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is already investigating serious irregularities in minority scholarships.
A previous ToI report had revealed how a scrutiny of 1,572 minority institutions from 21 states identified 830 institutions with fake beneficiaries, leading to the CBI taking over the investigation.
With 1.8 lakh registered institutions, ranging from madrasas to top-notch private and government academic institutions, on the scholarship portal, the minority scholarship amounts vary from Rs 4,000 to Rs 25,000 annually.
Moreover, the ministry disburses over Rs 2,000 crore annually for these scholarships.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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