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  Rashtriya Sahara Roznama Sahara
Padho Pardesh: A scheme making minority students study abroad
New Delhi
Last Updated : 20 Jun 2022 08:29:55 PM IST


The Ministry of Minority Affairs has been assisting economically weak students of minority communities to study abroad by providing them interest-subsidised loans. The scheme of the ministry named Padho Pardesh seeks to help such students attain higher education in foreign universities and thus enhance their employability.

(Dr Shujaat Ali Quadri)
As part of the scheme, the interest subsidy is linked with the existing Educational Loan Scheme of Indian Banks’ Association and is restricted to students enrolled for courses at Masters, M Phil and PhD levels.
In order to avail the scheme, students should apply for the benefits under the scheme during 1st year itself of the course. Fresh applications received during 2nd year or subsequent years are not accepted. The applying student should also have secured admission in the approved courses at Masters, M Phil or PhD levels abroad.
Interestingly, the students don’t have to seek verification of their documents from various authorities, they can self-attest them and submit them to the ministry.
A certain condition of the scheme is that the total income from all sources of the employed candidate or his/her parents/guardians in case of unemployed candidate shall not exceed Rs 6 lakh per annum and the income certificate should be submitted from the notified authority in the State/ Union Territory.
The scheme is rolled out in a very meticulous way. The beneficiary students are given loans for the duration of course period, plus one year or six months after getting a job (whichever is earlier) by a designated bank that maintains a separate account and records relating to the funds received from the ministry and submit quarterly reports to the ministry. The account and records are open for inspection/audit by the officers of the ministry, or any other agency designated by the ministry or CAG.
It is noteworthy here that the ministry doesn’t provide any loan to students, it only reimburses 100 % interest component of the loan availed by the student from the bank up to the moratorium period.
Under the scheme, the student can take Educational Loan from any Private Bank, Public Sector Bank, Scheduled commercial Bank and member urban Co-operative Banks, etc.
The scheme is evaluated at regular intervals by the ministry or any other agency designated by the ministry from time to time to ensure that the beneficiary students and lending banks are not violating any promulgated term.
The education-friendly scheme, that makes students free of burden of paying interest on bank loans, has generated enthusiastic response from aspirants from minority communities like Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, etc. Every year, around 2,000 students reportedly avail of the schemes and many of them are studying, working or have returned to India from US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Russia, etc.
Muslim students form the majority of the beneficiary students. As per the quota decided by the central government for minority students for each state/UT, the number of Muslims slots outnumbers any other community.
(Writer is Chairman of Muslim Students Organisation of India)

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