The Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS scheme), comprising four central sector sub-schemes, has been instrumental in empowering thousands of students from Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) since its inception in 2014. This umbrella scheme encompasses “Top Class Education for SCs,” “Free Coaching Scheme for SCs and OBCs,” “National Overseas Scheme for SCs,” and “National Fellowship for SCs.” This article provides an overview of these sub-schemes, highlighting the allocated budgets, expenditure details, and the number of beneficiaries over the past nine years.
Free Coaching Scheme for SCs and OBCs:
- Objective: The scheme aims to offer high-quality coaching to economically disadvantaged SC and OBC candidates, enabling them to participate in competitive exams and gain admission to prestigious technical and professional higher education institutions.
- Income Ceiling: Families with a total annual income of up to 8 lakhs are eligible for this scheme.
- Allocation: 3500 slots are allocated annually, with a student ratio of 70% SC and 30% OBC. Additionally, 30% of slots are reserved for female candidates.
- Funding: From 2014-15 to 2022-23, a total of 109.77 crore rupees have been disbursed, benefiting 19,995 beneficiaries.
Top Class Education for SCs:
- Objective: This scheme promotes quality education among SC students beyond the 12th grade by providing full financial support for their studies.
- Income Ceiling: The income threshold is set at 8 lakhs per annum for eligible families.
- Institutes Covered: The scheme covers 266 higher education institutes, including government and private institutions, prestigious IIMs, IITs, NITs, IIITs, AIIMS, NIFTs, NIDs, NLUs, IHMs, CUs, NAAC A++ accredited institutes, and the top 100 institutions ranked by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).
- Funding: From 2014-15 to 2022-23, a total of 398.43 crore rupees have been disbursed, benefiting 21,988 beneficiaries.
National Overseas Scheme for SCs:
- Objective: This scheme provides financial assistance to selected students from SCs, De-notified, Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic Tribes, and other disadvantaged categories for pursuing master’s and Ph.D. level courses abroad.
- Eligibility: Students with a total family income of less than 8 lakhs per annum, more than 60% marks in the qualifying examination, below 35 years of age, and admission to top 500 QS ranking foreign institutes/universities are eligible.
- Slots: Presently, 125 slots are allocated under this scheme.
- Coverage: The scheme covers tuition fees, maintenance and contingency allowances, visa fees, and travel expenses for awardees.
- Funding: From 2014-15 to 2022-23, a total of 197.14 crore rupees have been disbursed, benefiting 950 beneficiaries.
National Fellowship for SC Students:
- Objective: This fellowship supports SC students pursuing higher education leading to M.Phil/Ph.D. degrees in Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences in Indian Universities/Institutions/Colleges recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
- Slots: The scheme provides 2000 new slots per year, with 500 for science stream and 1500 for Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Eligibility: Students must have qualified the National Eligibility Test- Junior Research Fellowship (NET-JRF) of UGC and Junior Research Fellows for the Science stream, qualifying UGC-CSIR Joint Test.
- Funding: This fellowship assists students in their academic pursuits.