Shimla – In a decisive move against fraudulent educational institutions, the Education Department in Himachal Pradesh is set to implement geo-tagging for institutions applying for scholarships under various Central and State Government schemes. This stringent measure aims to curb the submission of fake applications by ensuring that only legitimate educational establishments can avail themselves of scholarship benefits.
Under the directive from the Central Government, letters have been dispatched to both private and government universities, colleges, and school heads across the state, emphasizing the mandatory nature of geo-tagging. The initiative is slated to take effect for the academic session 2023-24, requiring institutions to disclose their actual locations, easily accessible through Google Maps.
The move comes in response to previous scholarship scams, including one in Himachal Pradesh that amounted to over Rs 250 crore. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is actively investigating the case, and chargesheets are in progress at the High Court. The Enforcement Directorate is concurrently conducting its own investigation. These developments have prompted the Central Government to tighten regulations governing the disbursement of scholarship amounts.
The latest directive mandates that institutions provide geo-tagging information on the National Scholarship Portal, adding an extra layer of transparency to the application process. Following the recent Aadhaar-bank account linkage requirement for students, this geo-tagging initiative aims to shed light on the true size and location of institutions applying for scholarships, preventing the misrepresentation of student numbers and campus size.
The implementation of geo-tagging is scheduled to commence next week, marking a pivotal step in ensuring the integrity of scholarship schemes and deterring unscrupulous entities from exploiting these programs for financial gain. As educational institutions embrace this new layer of scrutiny, the government aims to foster a fair and accountable system, where genuine institutions receive the support, they need to provide quality education.