Panel proposes scheme for SC/STs to study abroad free

A government panel has recommended introduction of a new scholarship scheme for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students to enable them pursue higher studies abroad, almost free of cost.

The benefits of the proposed scheme should be made available to all the students belonging to the two communities, regardless of their family income per annum, a standing committee of the national monitoring committee on education development of SCs and STs suggested in its first report to the Human Resource Development Ministry.

 “There shall be no condition of annual family income ceiling for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes students proceeding on overseas studies under this scheme,” the panel, set up by the HRD Ministry in July last year, recommended.

The number of scholarships to be awarded under the proposed scheme should be in commensurate with the total number of Indian students studying abroad.

The amount offered under the proposed scholarship scheme should be revised periodically to cover the “entire cost” including all fees and other mandatory payments, all maintenance expense and travel costs, it added. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is already offering scholarship to support overseas higher studies of students belonging to SC, ST, denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.

The scheme, which has provision to award 30 overseas scholarships every year, also seeks to support children of landless agricultural labourers and traditional artisans.

In its report, the standing committee advised the HRD Ministry to formulate its scheme for the SC and ST students on the lines of the one being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Increase scholarship

The panel, however, advised the HRD Ministry to keep increasing the number of scholarships under the proposed scheme, instead of fixing a per annum slot.

 After 500 students become beneficiaries under the proposed scheme, the number of the scholarships should be increased by the Ministry in commensurate with the total number of Indian students getting education abroad at that point in time, the panel recommended.

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