53% Of institutions under a minority scholarship programme across several states are fake

53 percent of institutions enrolled in the minority scholarship program have been exposed as ‘fake’. An internal investigation carried out by the Ministry of Minority Affairs has unearthed a widespread network of corruption spanning 830 such institutions, resulting in a fraudulent scheme amounting to Rs 144.83 crore over the past five years. The gravity of the situation has prompted Union Minister Smriti Irani to refer the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a thorough probe.

Official records indicate that the Ministry of Minority Affairs officially filed its complaint regarding the matter on July 10. The inquiry encompassed 100 districts across 34 states. Among the 1572 institutions subjected to scrutiny, a staggering 830 were discovered to be implicated in fraudulent practices. This data pertains to investigations carried out in 21 out of the 34 states, while examinations into institutions in the remaining states are still ongoing.

As an immediate response, the authorities have taken the step of freezing the accounts associated with these 830 institutions

The scholarship initiative by the Ministry covers approximately 180,000 institutions, catering to students from the first grade up to higher education levels. This initiative was initially launched during the academic year 2007-2008. However, the magnitude of the fraud has led to the diversion of scholarships intended for deserving minority students towards these deceitful institutions year after year.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is set to delve into the roles of the nodal officers of these institutions who endorsed these dubious cases, as well as the district nodal officers who validated the fraudulent claims. Moreover, the investigation aims to uncover the systemic lapses that allowed this scam to persist across multiple states over an extended period. Sources have also revealed that the ministry is raising questions about the banks’ role in permitting the opening of fictitious accounts using counterfeit Aadhar cards and falsified KYC documents.

What’s astonishing is that many of the institutions under scrutiny, despite being either non-existent or inactive, managed to secure registrations on both the National Scholarship Portal and the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE).

The breakdown of the situation by state is alarming:

  • In Chhattisgarh, all 62 scrutinized institutions were confirmed to be either fake or non-operational.
  • Rajasthan exhibited a concerning scenario where out of 128 institutions examined, 99 were found to be counterfeit or non-functional.
  • The situation in Assam was even more shocking, with a staggering 68 percent of institutions turning out to be fake.
  • Similarly, in Karnataka, a substantial 64 percent of institutions were exposed as fraudulent.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, 44 percent of the institutions examined were determined to be fake.
  • West Bengal had 39 percent of its scrutinized institutions identified as fake.

This revelation has sent shockwaves throughout the nation, underscoring the pressing need for stringent oversight and reforms to prevent such large-scale fraudulent activities from exploiting well-intentioned government programs.

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