Rs 6,600-cr loan subsidy for 10 lakh students: HRD Minister

New Delhi, March 29 : The government will be spending Rs 6,600 crore in the next three years in the form of loan interest subsidy to help needy students, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Thursday.

The scheme, which was started in 2009, was extended at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) — chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday — for the next three years.

“It’s a great equity initiative of the Narendra Modi government that in next three years, more than 10 lakh students…who don’t have means, whose income is below Rs 4.5 lakh per year will be eligible for the education loan and interest subsidy,” Javadekar told reporters here.

Under the scheme, the eligible students can get loans without any collateral or guarantee, while the interest on them is paid by the government for the duration of the course plus one year after its completion, during which time a student is expected to get a job.

The students can take loans up to a maximum of Rs 7.5 lakh under the scheme.

The Minister said that the central government has spent a total of Rs 5,400 crore in the last three years on this scheme, which it would increase to Rs. 6,600 crore for the next three years.

This budget is higher than the one spent by the previous government, he said. Between 2009-2014, the UPA government had spent Rs 4,000 crore on the scheme.

Javadekar also announced the initiative under which the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA), the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and teacher training will be integrated under a single scheme. The proposal to formulate the scheme for this was given approval on Wednesday by the Cabinet.

“Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan was started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998. For the last 20 years, the scheme is operating with little changes made here and there. But now after consulting the states, we have come to decide that from Class 1 to Class 12 there will be one scheme,” Javadekar said.

The Minister said that in five years the government will bring digital blackboards for classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 in all its schools.

To bolster the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” initiative — the current government’s flagship scheme for women, the minister announced financial aid of Rs 200 every month for girls with special needs and extension of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya to Class 12, from Class 8 earlier.

(IANS)

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