Maharashtra government’s decision to provide a scholarship of Rupees 10000 per month to civil services aspirants has been criticised by a substantial number of educationists who claim that the positive effects of this decision will be limited and will benefit only some. The government though has already announced that it will be investing approximately 24 crores on this project.
According to the announcement made by the government a stipend of Rupees 10000 per month will be provided to the aspirants of civil services examination (CSE) who are preparing for the examination in the premier coaching institutes of this country located in Delhi. Every Maharashtra-domiciled student whose combined family income is 10 lakh per annum is eligible for applying to this scholarship. The stipend will be provided in stages. Normally clearing the civil services examinations is a 3 stage process. There is an objective aptitude test followed by a subjective test. Only the aspirants who clear these two stages are then called for the final round which consists of a personal interview.
Students will be eligible for the stipend only once during these three stages. It means that an application who clears the qualifying CSAT will not be receiving the stipend while preparing for the main subjective papers. Similarly an applicant who receives the stipend during his/her preparation for the mains exam will also not be provided with the stipend during his/her interview stages. There are also some other rules applicable for this scholarship. If an aspirant has received the stipend during any stage of his preparation he/she will not receive the stipend during the other stages of his/her attempt. This stipend is available only for those students who have cleared the preliminary examinations at least once during the past three years. The students who receive the stipend will have to compulsorily give the exam otherwise they would have to pay back the entire stipend back to the government.
The scholarship has been criticized because of the limited number of beneficiaries. Experts have calculated that this scholarship will at the most benefit 200-300 students every year from the entire state of Maharashtra. While the educationists and exam aspirants have welcomed the gesture they have also felt that the scholarship should be given to a wider section of aspirants, as it will impel them to clear the exam. The other factor is that this scholarship will only be provided to students who are preparing for the examination while undergoing training in any one of the three premier coaching institutes for civil services preparation of this country based in Delhi. Anticipating these problems the government has made a committee which will have the power to select the three Delhi-based coaching institutes. The committee additionally also has the authority to make amendments in the eligibility criteria of the scholarship.
While the scholarship is surely going to help some of the students of Maharashtra in clearing one of the toughest examinations of this country, and in becoming an IAS or IPS officer to serve the country, experts are of the opinion that making more students eligible for the stipend will be a bit more effective and may also increase the number of students who successfully clear the examination. Thus it can be said that while the stipend announced by the government is a welcome step, broadening the eligibility criteria will benefit more students and thus be more beneficial.