With increasing demand and only five hostels in the city, girls from minority communities await the living quarters they were promised.
Bengaluru: The books on the shelf of the hostel library were limited in number, but a large number of mosquitoes in the library were compensating for the absence of people. The mess and the library were in the same room and the computers which were provided to the hostels for the education of girls were not getting started due to some technical issues, said Amrintaj, one of the students living in the hostel.
A scheme sponsored by the Centre called the “Scheme for Strengthening of Boarding and Hostel facilities for Girl Students of Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools” had been implemented from 2004 to 05. The scheme was launched in 1993-94 with the basic objective to address the problem of access to secondary schools for girl students. The scheme was modified with effect from. 16.8.2001 provides for a grant of Rs. 10,000/- per annum per girl border and a one-time non-recurring grant of Rs. 3,000/- per border to voluntary organizations for running hostels for girl students of secondary and higher secondary schools. Students from classes VI to XII were eligible for assistance under the scheme and a maximum of 150 boarders were assisted in a single hostel. According to the Karnataka scheme 2004-05, girls from standard 6-12th were getting hostels from the government, so that their education doesn’t get affected because of their far-away homes from schools. These schemes were mainly for scheduled caste, ST, OBC, and Minorities.
“The government has provided only five minority hostels for the minority students who are in large number preparing for metric, masters, PH.D. and many other courses. Our hostel has currently more than a hundred students and there is no vacancy. In each room, around 14 girls stay, sharing one washroom which was allotted to each room. The admissions are getting multiply day by day, but due to shortage of hostels, the students have to manage somewhere else,”saidAmrintaj.
When Amrintaj was applying for the minority hostel, Vijaynagar, the hostel admissions got full. Due to this, she used to travel for 4-5hours regularly and her parents used to get so much worried because of the non-availability of hostels.
“We have in-total 117 girls in our hostel and only ten computers are provided by the government to our students. The computers are not in a working condition and we didn’t get any satisfactory solution on this when complained about this in the government offices,” said Amrintaj.
Amrintaj said the students get admitted to the hostel based on the ranking of their previous standard. Thousands of students are waiting for admission to the hostel but the government has allotted only five minority hostels.
While telling her situation during admissions in minority hostel, Amrintaj said that “whenever she used to enroll for the other hostels, the faculties and other people of hostels used to tell her that they are waiting for their students to enroll(Open and another caste except for SC, ST, and Muslims)and used to reject her applications several times. The other caste hostels faculties used to say Go and stay in your hostels. There is a heavy need for minority girl’s hostels in the state as we do not get permission to stay in other hostels”.
During the period of the pandemic, the hostels didn’t get any kind of funding or support from the government. The hostels were in big trouble due to increased rates of vegetables, and other necessities were also not affordable at that time. As the fees of minority hostels are around Rs200/-, the government’s financial support is all we want. Now the situation is under control, but we still are paranoid because of increasing Covid-19 cases in the State, Amrintaj added.
Schemes under Social Welfare Department (SWD) are paying out lesser funds at a slower pace, as the budget allocation for welfare of SC, ST and OBCs has been decreasing for the past five years.
An analysis of the budget for the past six years shows a decline from Rs 11640 crores in 2017-18 to Rs 8686 crores in 2021-22. This year, the allocation has been six percent less than last year.
.“The funding of our department is getting low day by day in terms of finance. The government, however, does give us some kind of funding for some of the major schemes like scholarships and widow remarriage incentives”, said H.D. Arunkumar, Deputy Director of coordination in the Social Welfare Department. These systems of distributing different funds are causing obstructions in implementing welfare schemes.
The SWD runs hostels and provides scholarships for students belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC) or Scheduled Tribes. Due to the budget allocations, the applicants have to wait a longer period.
Puroshottam, Deputy Director at the Social Welfare Department said, “The department of the minority is trying their best to improve on the development of the minority hostels. The problem with providing necessities is many government hostels are running in private buildings. So it becomes very difficult for the government to maintain the hostels in private infrastructure because the government cannot invest more in private buildings. The hostels running in private buildings have by default some glitches in the physical infrastructure”. When asked about the scenario of hostels not getting enough government funding, Puroshottam added that “As of now, there is no fund crisis in the government for the minority hostels. I am not denying the statement that the hostels didn’t suffer the shortage of funds, but the government is also helping them through various phases, the people have to understand this”.
“If admissions got doubled than this, the government will think about the increase of hostels in the state”, he added while asking about the increase in the number of hostels.
Manohar Rangnathan, an activist of Human Rights and Executive Director, Centre for Amenities, Rehabilitation and Education (CARE) said that “All the hostels have the right to get services including the minority ones and the state has a duty under the Constitution to provide the necessary especially earmark funds. In reality, the hostels for the minorities and other vulnerable are in a pathetic state and are in shambles and no monitoring of the functioning of these hostels is done”.
He also added, “The state must remove the obstacles in the functioning and smoothen the required necessities for these hostels and more hostels need to be built with all modern amenities, to provide the basic survival for the students to complete their education. The denial of these amenities and services is fundamentally wrong and a human rights violation”.
After getting follow up from of one my source on their hostel situation, I got to know that, “the government higher authorities have started implementing various changes in many minority girls hostel and they are ready to consider more minority girls hostels in the state”.