The Union government has decided to discontinue the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF), a scholarship for students from minority communities from this academic year.
Union Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani told Lok Sabha on Thursday that the decision was made since MANF overlaps with various other schemes.
The MANF was launched during the UPA regime as part of implementing the Sachar Committee recommendations.
“Since the MANF scheme overlaps with various other fellowship schemes for higher education implemented by the government and with minority students already covered under such schemes, the government has decided to discontinue the MANF scheme from 2022-23,”Irani said.
About 6,722 candidates were selected under MANF between 2014-15 and 2021-22 and fellowships to the tune of ₹738.85 crore were distributed during the same period, as per the data provided by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Research scholars from different minority communities across the country have not been receiving MANF for several months.
“Maulana Azad National Fellowship for Minority Students was for candidates who belong to one of the Minority Community i.e. Muslim, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist, Christian & Jain in higher education. Modi has discontinued it, by citing strange ‘overlaps’ with other fellowship Schemes,” tweeted VP Sanu, national president of SFI.
“We demand immediate withdrawal of GOI’s decision to discontinue #MANF for minorities. Is this how you implement #SabkaVikas? Stopping a fellowship scheme named after Maulana Azad is an insult towards our nation builders too,” read a tweet by NS Abdul Hameed, Jamia Millia Islamia student and NSUI leader.