The Central government has started investigating the work profile and professional engagements of students who might have gone to study in foreign institutes on government scholarships, following Intelligence reports calling for caution.
We have gathered that central agencies have recently alerted union ministries funding scholarships of Indian students in foreign institutes on instances of scholarship awardees affiliating with agencies or working on themes/areas which often project India in adverse light on international platforms.
The services included have started an investigation on the post-education employment of all such students who might have profited from this government scholarship.
The Ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs are among those that offer central area overseas scholarship plans for students from disadvantaged and low-pay sections, to enable them to access high-quality education in well-ranked foreign institutes. Every year, around 150-200 students are granted government scholarships to study abroad.
Sources in the services confirmed that they will connect with scholarship students to ‘follow back to their plans’. To guarantee their ‘appropriate settlement’.
The follow-up can be pursued by the government as the scholarship conditions. Particularly under the National Overseas Scholarship (NOS) scheme. Also, it requires the awardees to get back to India after two years of completion of the course.
North Block authorities confirmed to ET that there were certain specific cases of alleged misuse of scholarship. By students from Kashmir in universities abroad that have been flagged by the agencies.
India wants a report card from students studying abroad on government scholarships
On the NOS, North Block authorities said the new rules currently give the Indian mission. To keep track of adverse developments, if any, regarding applicants.
A future decision regarding the continuation of the award will be taken based on their feedback, they said.
While it is agreed that one can’t ban any researcher from working anyplace they pick. The inquiry is whether the government should fund such scholarships. If the awardees participate in work that projects India in a negative light on global discussions.
The home service spokesperson did not comment on ET queries.
The number of these scholarship awardees, meanwhile, has been consistently moving throughout the long term. From 19 scholarship awardees who traveled abroad for post-graduation and research in 2015-16, the number rose to 63 by 2019-20 and hit 123 in 2021-22.
The concern region for the offices seems to be the social science area and the employment avenues associated with it in foreign nations. However, the information shows that the bulk of the students availing the scholarship. So far have gone to study engineering, management, and pure sciences.
In 2020-21, of the 100 selected candidates, 61 opted for engineering and management courses. While 24 opted for pure science and applied science. There were seven humanities/social science students.
While the government has claimed that this is essential for a streamlining process. And the exclusion of Indian studies has been done on account of their sufficient availability at Indian institutes. The same is being questioned because this aims to prevent an independent critique of issues like the caste system and religious bigotry.