Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia handed over cheques for Rs 48.14 crore to 6,820 students pursuing higher education under the Delhi government's "Merit-cum-Means" financial assistance scheme on Monday. Over 13,000 students have received benefits amounting to Rs 87 crore under the scheme in the last three years.
To ensure that no student is deprived of higher education due to financial constraints, the Directorate of Higher Education formulated the "Merit-cum-Means Linked Financial Assistance Scheme" of the Delhi Higher Education Aid Trust in the academic year 2017-18 to provide access to quality higher education to students irrespective of their economical background.
Sisodia said in the initial year of the scheme, less than 2,500 students had benefitted from it and a budget of Rs 14 crore was allotted to it.
"It is a matter of great happiness that this year, 6,820 students are getting benefits from this scheme. This year, the budget for this scheme has been increased to Rs 48 crore," he said.
"Vice-Chancellors and faculty members of higher education institutions have contributed significantly. Until 2015, these higher education institutions of Delhi were not even included in the top 50. Today, they feature among the top 10 positions in various university rankings.
"We have been included in the list of the top universities of the country, but the day is not far when the higher education institutes of Delhi will be included among the top institutes of the world. We have to persistently work hard to achieve this," the deputy chief minister added. He said there are three types of countries in the world -- developed, developing and underdeveloped.
"When we were in school, India was in the category of developing countries and even today, it is in the category of developing countries. Any country becomes developed not on the strength of the governments or their policies, but on the basis of quality education.
"Today, in common Indian homes, when it comes to giving better education to children, it is discussed sending them to Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge. Let us dream that after a few years, a family sitting in America, Britain, Japan will think of sending their children to a university in India for good education. The day our universities become a dream for the families in countries such as the US and Japan, we will proudly teach our children that India is no longer a developing country, but a developed one," he said.
Under the Delhi government's scheme, a 100-per cent financial assistance is given to the children of the ration card-holding families in the first category. In the second category, those students whose annual family income is less than Rs 2.5 lakh are covered and they receive a 50-per cent financial assistance. The third category includes those students whose annual family income is more than Rs 2.5 lakh but less than Rs 6 lakh and they receive a 25-per cent financial assistance.
A student must secure at least 60 per cent marks in graduation to avail of the benefits under the scheme. The Delhi government gave Rs 14.16 crore to 2,429 students in 2018-19, Rs 24 crore to 3,760 students in 2019-20, and Rs 48.14 crore to 6,820 students in 2020-21 under the scheme.
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