The decision by the Labour Ministry of the Congress-led Karnataka government to significantly reduce the scholarship amount for children of construction labourers in the state, has sparked criticism from beneficiaries, education experts, and political opponents.
Critics have labeled the move as arbitrary and a form of collective punishment, contrary to principles of social justice.
The scholarship amount has been cut by 80-85 per cent across all educational levels, from school to higher education courses.
The Karnataka government attributes this decision to a combination of financial constraints and a substantial increase, sometimes fourfold, in the number of applicants, with suspicions of many being bogus.
Taking a swipe at the Congress government, K T Rama Rao, Bharat Rashtra Samithi working president and IT Minister in Telangana, criticised the move on social media, emphasising the need to reject the Congress party and vote for progress.
The Labour Ministry received over 13 lakh scholarship applications for the academic year 2022-23, identifying seven lakh genuine beneficiaries.
However, it observed a significant rise in the number of fake applications and attributed this surge to the issuance of bogus cards during the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led regime.
Congress leader and Karnataka Labour Minister Santhosh Lad defended the decision, blaming the previous BJP regime for the increase in illegal labour cards and asserting that the government is working to rectify the situation.
A government order issued on 30 October announced the revised scholarship amounts, reflecting drastic cuts.
Parents, experts, and educationists have criticised the decision, highlighting its impact on students pursuing engineering, medical, and postgraduate courses.
They argue that such cuts, affecting deserving students, are a form of collective punishment and call for a more systematic approach to identify and eliminate fraudulent applications.
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