HRD Minister to line up proposals for 6,000 scholarships, new IITs

Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani is set to line up a slew of proposals for the education sector including 6,000 new scholarships in technical education with 4,000 of them for women.

It is learnt that Irani will soon announce a major scholarship scheme that will be effected through the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). As per this scheme, 4,000 scholarships will be given to girl students pursuing undergraduate technical courses like engineering, architecture and so on. The government will pay either Rs 30,000 per annum or actual fee, whichever is less, to the eligible candidates.

Besides, 1,000 scholarships will be earmarked for differently-abled students pursuing technical courses at the undergraduate level. In a bid to attract more youngsters to scientific research, 1,000 scholarships will be offered to PhD candidates who decide to work at Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories. The PhD scholarship will be as per the existing rules — Rs 16,000 per month for first two years and Rs 18,000 per month in the third year. The 6,000 scholarships will cost the government around Rs 45- 50 crore per annum.

Irani will also pilot four Bills, including a UPA-II legislation with modifications, in the Budget session that starts next week. The ministry will introduce the National Academic Depository Bill that promises digitisation of all school and college certificates and degrees. While the Bill dates back to when Kapil Sibal was the minister, it is learnt that Irani has asked for it to be reworked to ensure that uploading of documents on to the national depository only be done through government agencies and not private ones.
The BJP-led government is of the view that banks, post offices, and offices where electricity and telephone bills are deposited should instead serve as facilitation centres where a student can have his documents uploaded on to the depository.

Two other Bills to be introduced are aimed at ensuring that IIIT Kancheepuram and School of Planning & Architecture Bhopal and Vijaywada are able to grant degrees. A Bill relating to setting up of new institutes — IITs, IIMs and Central Universities — in Telangana and Seemandhra is also on the cards.

Sources said efforts are on to enable setting up the Central University in Motihari in Bihar. Irani is also set to issue orders asking all Central universities to ensure their premises are wi-fi enabled.

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