Pranab Kurmi has nurtured a dream since his childhood. Born amid the beautiful and pristine landscape of Mijikijan Tea Estate in Biswanath district (erstwhile Sonitpur district), he had dreamt of higher education to ameliorate his economic condition and make a career for himself. After years of hard work, he took a giant leap towards his ambition by securing Star Marks in the 2021 High School Leaving Certificate examinations and made his father Bijoy Kurmi proud of his achievement.
It is to encourage the likes of him that the Government of Assam through its Tea Tribes Welfare Department has instituted scholarship schemes to performers dream big in the world of academics.
The Department has launched schemes to allow these students access to secondary and higher education through the pre-matric and post-matric scholarships, Simon Sing Horo Special Scholarship Scheme, and the Financial Assistance for ANM/GNM/Technical Courses. In fact, the Government has a specific portal called SIRISH through which the deserving can apply for their due benefit.
Last year, Pranab became a deserving recipient of two such scholarships. He received ₹ 5,000 under the post-matric scholarship category while also qualifying under the Simon Sing Horo special scholarship scheme for securing Star Marks. “I paid for my admission fee in Higher Secondary with the money that I received under the schemes and bought required textbooks. I am thankful to the Government for thinking of students like us,” he tells Asom Barta.
This financial year, the Tea Tribes Welfare Department has earmarked ₹ 29.50 crore while ₹ 21.43 crore were disbursed to 25,585 students in the financial year 2021-2022.
Mrinmoy Sahu, an intern with a Government hospital, graduated from the Swahid Jadav Nath Homoeopathic Medical College. He is a beneficiary of an annual scholarship of ₹ 35,000 meant for higher education. “This money was a great relief for me. Many students unfortunately are not aware of such a scheme. I would request the relevant department to publicise it,” he says.
This is merely one of the attempts of the Government of Assam to add momentum in the uplift of the status of tea tribes, scheduled caste and other backward classes. Scholarships and stipends under various heads have also been instituted for students belonging to different strata of society.
Similarly, under the Directorate of Tribal Affairs (Plain), meritorious students of Scheduled Tribes(ST) and Other Backward Classes(OBC) have a ray of hope through its scholarship scheme meant for them. Those who secure over 80% in the HSLC examinations or over 75% under the Higher Secondary examinations qualify for financial assistance. It does not end there. Consistency is encouraged and rewarded. Those who score over 70% in their graduation and 65% in their postgraduation course are financially rewarded by the Directorate.
In the last academic session, 1,830 students qualified under the Scheme. The Directorate has budgeted ₹ 4.50 crore under this head for the academic year 2022-2023.
The Social Justice and Empowerment Department has also launched a special scheme meant for meritorious Schedule Castes students under the pre-matric and post-metric categories. They can apply through the National Scholarship Portal for aid under this category. The Assam Government through the Schedule Caste Welfare Department has earmarked ₹ 16 lakh for students securing above 80% in the matriculation examination in the 2021-2022 academic session.