TODAY’S – Gov’t to grant TL 12,000 to students in need ahead of election

Gov’t to grant TL 12,000 to students in need ahead of electionThe General Directorate for Foundations (VGM) has been given the power to grant exclusive bursaries to university students in need amounting to TL 12,000, according to a recent amendment to the regulation of scholarships for higher education, which was published in the Official Gazette late in November, hinting at a pre-2015 election campaign.According to the announcement in the Official Gazette, students in need who apply for the bursary may be provided, if they are found eligible, with a scholarship of up to TL 12,000.

This amount is five times the total bursary that such students had been given before this amendment, when the directorate had been providing each student with TL 200 per month.Nonetheless, the amendment is being criticized as trying to be an election economy, where public money is spent lavishly to attract votes, ahead of scheduled parliamentary elections on June 14, 2015.

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has attracted criticism ahead of election periods in the past for distributing free coal as a gift from the party. Critics of the assistance argue that coal should not be delivered as part of election campaigns instead, it should be a state subsidy.

Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu pledged to stay away from populist campaigns last month when announcing the details of the new economic reform program included in the governmentand#39s 10th Five-Year Development Plan. However, his statements came on the heels of earlier warnings by local and international monitoring groups that predicted the government would take populist steps to please the public ahead of next yearand#39s general elections.

In September, Fitch, a prominent international credit rating agency, said in a statement that economic populism remains a risk ahead of next yearand#39s parliamentary elections.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman