Private agencies cheat applicants of PM scholarship
By Tiki Rajwi | Published: 27th August 2012 09:37 AM |
Little-known private agencies and fly-bynight operators are allegedly using the Prime Minister's Scholarship Scheme as a handy tool for skimming money off unsuspecting victims, according to government agencies here.
Smelling a rat, the Department of Sainik Welfare, Kerala, has warned candidates not to fall prey to such agencies who have been found to be operating from states such as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The department issued the warning after a number of applicants for the PM's Scholarship Scheme for Dependent Wards/Widows of Ex-Servicemen raised the alarm. Apparently, the modus operandi is simple. The agencies merely make use of the current system of announcing the scholarship winners. They lift addresses of the candidates from the website of the Department of Sainik Welfare and post a letter congratulating the winners.
The unsuspecting candidates are told they are eligible for more scholarships and promised details by post. All this is for a ?nominal registration fee? in the range of Rs 250 which can be paid by way of DD, money order etc. ?We have received a number of similar complaints over phone and two in writing. Isha Reading Room and Information Centre said to be based in Gangavathi, Karnataka, was collecting money by informing candidates that they had won the PM's merit scholarship.
The registration fee - Rs 250 or Rs 300 - might sound a small sum,but it adds up when many people pay,? Sainik Welfare, Kerala, director K K Govindan Nair said. The PM's scholarships for dependents of defence personnel number around 4,000 and 3,000. Of this, Kerala accounts for 1,000 scholarships, he said. Sainik Welfare officials fear that such trickery could be happening in the case of other scholarships also.
One exserviceman, S Sreekumar from Thiruvananthapuram district, had written to the Sainik Welfare Department wondering how a Karnatakabased agency managed to obtain details regarding his daughter (the applicant) which was supplied exclusively to a government department. He wanted the Sainik Welfare Department to get the Cyber Cell or the NIA probe the matter.