Govt approves National Merit Scholarship Scheme of Rs 3004.04 cr

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New Delhi, May 9 (UNI) The cabinet today gave its approval to implement the centrally sponsored National means-cum-merit Scholarship during the 11th Five year Plan and to incur an expenditure of Rs 3004.04 crore during the same period.

''The objective of the scheme is to award scholorship to meritorious students of economically weaker section to arrest their drop out at class VIII and to encourage them to continue in the secondary stage upto class XII,'' Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here.

Each year atleast 1,00,000 scholorship of Rs 6,000 per annum will be awarded to students at the beginning of class ninth and will continue till class 12.

Only those students whose parental income from all sources is not more than Rs 1,50,000 will be eligible to avail of the scholorship. Further the scholorship is meant for studying in government, local body and government aided schools, he said.

To select the candidates, a selection test will be held at the state level for the students of class eighth. This will be conducted along with the first stage selection test of the National Talent Search Examination conducted by the state governments under the guidance of NCERT.

''To fund this scheme, a corpus of Rs 750 crore will be created with SBI in 2008-09 and a like amount will be added to the fund every year, for the next three years. the yield from the fund will be used for the Scholorship Scheme,'' The Finance Minister said.

The requirment of the funds for creation of the corpus during the XI Five Year Plan will be Rs 3,000 crore and the expenditure on scholorships will be Rs 600 crore, Mr Chidambaram added.

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