The Aam Aadmi Party government on Thursday launched a scheme to fund higher eduction of around 100 Dalit students overseas. Meritorious students who have secured admission to M.Phil, PhD, LLM, M.Tech and other higher education courses in foreign universities will be eligible to apply under the scheme, Delhi's SC/ST Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said.
The applicants should be residents of Delhi, aged below 30 and their family income should not exceed Rs 8 lakh per annum, he said. The government will provide financial assistance of up to Rs 10 lakh for a two-year course and up to Rs 20 lakh for a four-year course to around 100 candidates. It's happening for the first time in Delhi, the minister said.
"Students who have secured admission to foreign universities can apply online to avail benefits under the scheme. The applications will be vetted by a committee headed by the Principal Secretary of the SC/ST department," the minister said. "Only one child for the same parents/guardians will be eligible and to this effect, a self–certification will be required from the candidates. The scheme is proposed to be implemented from the financial year 2019-20 and will cost Rs 5 crore to the exchequer," a government statement said.
Due to financial constraints, studying abroad remains a dream for many talented SC students from low-income groups. This scheme will encourage such students to enrol in foreign universities, Gautam said. "We have no dearth of talented people who can accomplish anything given equal opportunities. The AAP government has decided to hold their hand. Saiyyaji Rao Gaekwad, the erstwhile ruler of Baroda state, funded Bhim Rao Ambedkar's education abroad, giving him a chance to showcase his talent and the rest is history," he added.
The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment also provides financial support to 100 candidates each year under the National Overseas Scholarship for Scheduled Caste Students. Candidates pursuing a master-level course and PhD in foreign universities in the field of science, engineering, management, medicine, commerce, humanities, social science, and fine arts are given USD 15,400 or around Rs 10 lakh under the scheme.
Last year, the AAP government launched the Jai Bhim Mukhyemantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana, under which Dalit students can avail free coaching for various exams. Thirty-five of the 107 students who got free coaching for engineering and medical entrance exams have cleared JEE Main and NEET this year.
Under the scheme, as many as 4,953 students enrolled for availing coaching for various exams, including those conducted by the UPSC, SSC, Banks, Railway Recruitment Board, Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board and insurance companies in 2018-19, according to officials.