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On the ISC Front

Lt Gen Kartar Singh

International Sikh Confederation Launches a Drive to Uplift Rural Education And Maximum Utilization of Central Scholarship to Minorities

This quarter of the year kept us busy with our drive to inform maximum rural schools and colleges with regard to financial aid available to students under various Central Schemes. Surprisingly we found that in spite of the Central Government publishing various schemes in Newspapers and websites very little information trickles down to institutions. The weakness lies not only in the Punjab Education Department’s directions and their implementation, but also in the total ignorance shown by our teaching staff especially in rural areas.

Keeping the above in mind the ISC along with sister NGO’s such as the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Guru Angad Dev Educational Society. Guru Gobind Singh circle and the Kalgidhar Trust – Baru Sahib, carried out a vigorous drive to distribute specially prepared pamphlets containing full information with sample forms to be filled by candidates to apply for various scholarship schemes as per student’s eligibility. A Control Centre was established by the ISC at its HQ in Chandigarh. Lt Col Jagtar Singh Multani, our ACEO played a huge part in this campaign. He travelled all over Punjab and also went to New Delhi to persuade the Government to extend dates to 30 Sep 09 with success. Our Ludhiana Chapters with its vast manpower and resources jumped into action. Gurdwara Sahib Sarabha Nagar under its livewire devoted President S Joginder Singh Nagpal provided material and resources while the Guru Gobind Singh Study Cilcle provided transport and some other facilities. Our members S.Karmjit Singh Aujla and Sukhdev Singh with whole hearted support from Col. Raghbir Singh Kang, Lt. Col. Harbans Singh, S.Ajit Singh Arora, Dr.Pushpinder Singh and Dr.Pritpal Singh Lohi toured the whole of Punjab distributing pamphlets containing details of the central Scholarship Schemes. The main bottle necks were: -

a DPI Schools and Colleges, Punjab have nominated the Welfare Department to handle this vital matter. Routine letters were sent out to schools and colleges without proper follow up.

b Lack of interest on the part of the District Welfare officers Last year most of them showed reluctance to even accept applications. This reluctance still persists in some districts such as Amritsar and Jalandhar.

c Ignorance of Principals and Teachers that these Lucrative schemes are fully advertised and could be downloaded from the Website: www.minorityaffairs.gov.in

d Once informed, teachers lacked the zeal to motivate and help students to fill up forms in time and have them countersigned by the Principals.

May we request all members of the IOSS and ISC to spread information widely in their areas of influence regarding the Prime Minister’s new 15-point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities. This envisages Free Coaching and allied schemes for students belonging to Minorities Communities notified under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992. It caters to reserved seats for Muslims, Christian, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis). Salient aspects of Schemes 1 to 3 relating to scholarships awarded at school level from classes VI to XII and at college level are contained in the chart attached.

Coaching Project
Our Coaching Scheme at Mukandpur District Nawanshahr now runs classes for two periods daily from 2:15 PM to 3:45 PM. Separate classes are held for classes XI and XII. Response to this Project has doubled since Last year. More than 50 percent students from our first batch have got admission for higher studies in Medical/Engg College, and other Professional Colleges. This has given us an added strength and motivation Expenses are now doubled to over Rs 30,000/- per month. To sustain this, we urgently need voluntary donors. Please come forth with whatever you can afford.

Future Thoughts
The other day an eminent Gursikh from New Delhi paid us a visit. S.Charanjit Singh is an active worker of the Kalgidhar Trust, Baru Sahib. In spite of managing a good business, he devotes maximum time to Sikh affairs. I was most impressed by his acumen and devotion to a great cause i.e. rural education. He came forth with a new idea and proposal. Why can’t the ISC and their trust come together to take up the issue of affording our rural youth an opportunity to prepare for the Central Services Examination. After all the IAS, IFS, IPS and allied services are the backbone of our state’s administrative and financial setup. At present we are low down on the success list. Our response to this is positive; in fact we must take this up urgently. Resources must be raised. If Jamia Milia can train 60 such aspirants every year why can’t Gursikhs do it? You all can hold our hands and help us do it. We don’t need huge donations. Many drops make an ocean. Join us in our mission and let us march forward to achieve our target of empowering our rural youth- Nay, our future generation. Together we must restore the past glory of our Punjab.

For the information of IOSS members and subscribers to this magazine, the Guru Nanak Education Fund was launched in Jan 2006 by Justice Mota Singh, Queen’s Council, in a meeting of the International Sikh Confederation. The trustees are Dr S.S. Johl, Dr. G.S. Kalkat, (Ex- Vice-chancellors), Lt. Gen. Kartar Singh Gill PVSM (Retd.), S Gurdev Singh IAS (Retd.) and Dr. Gurbax Singh. We are carrying on our Education Coaching Projects in rural areas and our Scholarship Scheme with money raised on the launch day. A few Gursikhs are continuing to donate to this scheme and due to the grace of the Gurus we are maintaining our projects. But donations are few and far between. There is a need for all of us to contribute so that we can launch bigger schemes to uplift rural education. The response so far are well below our expectations especially from those on whom the Gurus how showered their blessings.

Donation a may be sent to the International Sikh Confederation, Plot No 2 Sector 28-A, Chandigarh by cheque, money order or bank draft. We welcome personal visits form 11 AM to 1 PM on working days Monday to Friday. Our E-Mail address is kartarsikhconfed@yahoo.com and telephone 0172-2657381, Mobile: 9814499969.

I end this piece with a prayer on my lips asking for forgiveness in case I have at any time unknowingly crossed the line drawn for a humble Sikh.



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