This year, around 1100 students of Rabkavi-Banhatti couldn’t continue with their education as they didn’t get scholarship from State Scholarship Portal (SSP) to buy their uniforms, study materials and stationery. State Scholarship Portal is a government helpline under Department of Social Welfare that provides financial aid to students of backward community. To avail the scholarship, a student must score 75 per cent or above and must have documents like bank passbook, aadhar card, caste and income certificate. The student must have a bank account, where the scholarship amount would be credited.
Many students in the area did not get the scholarship despite being academically eligible. These students do not have bank account as they do not have aadhar card or have mistakes in it. To open a bank account, a person had to have aadhar card. Common mistake was having different name in aadhar card and school admission form. “My daughter got her scholarship for one year. Because she was really good in studies she got it for one year but now she is not receiving anything. If we go and ask the bank people about it, they always say, come today, come tomorrow but they never tell or do anything,” said Mallikarjun Hunnur, a student’s father.
Recently, local government shut down all the private internet shops in the area that rectified mistakes in aadhar card. Now, only the local post office holds the right to rectify them. Post office doesn’t have a separate department or staff for this work. Therefore they do it after finishing their work of office hours. If a person gives his aadhar card today, he gets a date of two-three months later to collect it back. “We do aadhar card work after we complete our aadhar work. We do not have separate staff for doing that. After closing the counter every evening, we correct 10-20 aadhar cards. We give them a slip of date on which they have to come to collect their aadhar card back,” said Raju Nazre, post master, Banhatti. Lack of staff in the banks is another problem in opening an account.
In April 2017, the Reserve Bank of India issued an order to merge the State Bank of India with State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore. It said that all the five banks would as the branches of SBI. Following the merger, the work load of the bank increased whereas the staff remained unchanged. The State Bank, then, started to take about three months to open one savings account. People had to stand in long queues from morning. About 70 per cent of the total population is daily wage powerloom workers. They earn 300 to 500 rupees per day. It becomes really difficult for them to leave their work for even a day and go. “The major problem with opening bank account is long queue in the bank. Every time we go, they say come today, come tomorrow. This goes on for several months. Mistake in aadhar cards is one of the reasons for delay in opening bank account. This is a problem not just to the parents and students but also to teachers and school,” said Sowmya Mahaballshetti, school teacher.
When the struggle become so tough, parents give up on getting any kind of financial aid for the education of their children.