Telangana Government scraps FAST scheme
In a major relief for the students, particularly those hailing from Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana government has decided to drop the proposal to introduce FAST (Financial Assistance to the Students of Telangana) scheme.
Chief Minster of Telangana KCR chaired the meeting of the State Cabinet and disclosed this at a press conference on Friday.
KCR said that the state government would continue with the existing system of fee reimbursement as per the Article 371(D), a special provision under which there will be equitable opportunities and facilities for all.
Under the FAST scheme, the TS government had fixed 1956 as the cut-off year for determining the nativity of a student. This means that the students whose parents settled here before 1956 would only be ineligible for the FAST scheme. This had resulted in a major controversy and both the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments locked horns over the issue.
As Soon as Telangana government issued a GO constituting a committee to formulate detailed guidelines for the FAST, Andhra Pradesh ministers and leaders said that the 1956 cutoff date was anti-constitutional and was in violation of the AP State Re organisation Act, as admissions and fee were interlinked. They discussed the issue with the Advocate General and decided to challenge it in the court.
Two former ministers in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, Pithani Satyanarayana and Dokka Manikya Varaprasada Rao, challenged the decision in the High Court, saying that it would go against the spirit of the Constitution. The Court had asked the Telangana government to file a counter affidavit, explaining its stand. But the government could not file affidavit. On the other hand, it told the court that the guidelines were not yet finalised.
FAST Scheme caused great anguish to students from AP and Telangana State also.
Telangana State cabinet on Friday decided to clear the fee reimbursement dues of Rs 862 crore. KCR said that the previous government did not clear the fee reimbursement dues for four years and the Telangana government inherited them. He said there were arrears of about 1,800 crore which accumulated over a period of four years and the government had recently released about Rs 1,000 crore.