Modi govt stops scholarships for Indian madrassa students

F.P. Report

NEW DELHI: India’s BJP government has stopped granting scholarships to madrassa students across the country from classes 1 to 8, reported Indian media on Tuesday.

The madrassa children from classes 1 to 5 were provided with a scholarship of Rs1,000, while students from Classes 6 to 8 received the grant depending on their courses.

In 2021, close to half a million children from around 16,558 madrassas received government-sanctioned scholarships.

The decision by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, headed by Minister Smriti Irani, to stop scholarships for madrassa students was reportedly taken since the education of students of Classes 1 to 8 is free under the Right to Education Act, and since other essential items are given to them. Other essential facilities include mid-day meals and free books.

The government said this is why only students of Classes 9 and 10 were provided with scholarships, and therefore, only their applications have been forwarded to the concerned department.

The Uttar Pradesh government had on September 1 announced that it would survey unrecognized madrassas of the state to ascertain information such as details of teachers and students, curriculum, and its affiliation with any non-governmental organization.

Danish Azad Ansari, Minister of State for Minority Affairs, had stated that the survey would be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which wants to check on the basic facilities provided to students in madrassas.

The minister went on to say that the survey would help gather additional information such as the name of the madrassa and the institution that runs it, whether it is run in a private or rented building, and information about basic facilities such as drinking water, furniture, electricity, and toilets, among other things.

The survey identified over 7,500 unrecognized madrassas in the state, said State Minority Welfare Minister Dharam Pal Singh in October 2022.