As Govt dithers over stipend UPSC students struggle to make ends meet

Minister Wadettiwar too fails to assure timely release of stipend

All the students are from Non Creamy Layer category

Mumbai: The ‘stay-order’ spree of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra now threatens to jeopardise the future of 225 students who are preparing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations in New Delhi. The students studying in New Delhi through Sarathi institute are facing financial problems as their stipend has not been paid on time since last three months. The students are yet to receive their stipend since January this year. The fate of these students now hangs in balance due to politics in the government over Sarathi Institute that is going on in the state for last few months.

The students in distress have sent SOS messages to social activists in Mumbai hoping last minute help to save their careers. “I got a distress message from one of the students. They are in serious financial trouble as the stipend is not paid on time since last three months. Students are future of the country. The cost of education must be considered as investment, which will give returns to the nation in future,” said Chhaya Thorat, social activist from Mumbai.

The students in the distress message have narrated troubles and trauma due to non-payment of stipend. In all 225 students – 75 girls and 150 boys – are undergoing coaching for UPSC examinations in New Delhi since July 2019. All the students have come to Delhi through Sarathi Institute. The monthly stipend is Rs 13,000. “We got the stipend on time till November 2019. The delay began from December 2019.

Initially it was delayed by four to five days, but now the students have not received stipend for the month of January, 2020, which was expected on February 1. Since all the students are from Non Creamy Layer category, stipend is the only source of income for them to sustain in New Delhi. The delay in payment of stipend has resulted in accumulation of room rent, mess and library charges, which the students cannot pay from their pockets, can neither ask for help from their parents,” the complaint says.

The students have been trying hard to get their stipend from last four months. But all the efforts have been proved to be futile, as OBC, SEBC Minister Vijay Wadettiwar too, failed to give them concrete assurances. “We have even contacted Vijay Wadettiwar. He could neither give satisfactory answer for the delay in release of stipend, nor could assure regular payment in future. All the students have messaged him about the difficulties faced in New Delhi. But the messages appear to have fallen on deaf ears,” the complaint says.

“This is a serious issue and needs to be addressed on war footing. We cannot leave our students in lurch like this. The students in New Delhi will stage a token protest at Jantar Mantar tomorrow (Monday, February 17) for their demands,” Thorat said. Repeated efforts to reach out to CM Uddhav Thackeray and OBC, SEBC Minister Vijay Wadettiwar proved futile as text messages sent to them went unanswered.

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