Kolkata, June 30 (IANS) In a unique initiative, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will roll out 'Students' Credit Card' on Wednesday. The one-of project of the state government is an effort to provide soft loan up to Rs 10 lakh to the students for educational purposes."In order to further encourage the students from West Bengal to pursue higher studies, the state government has decided to launch one of the most comprehensive and inclusive schemes in the Country "Student Credit Card" to enable them to avail collateral security free loan up to Rs 10 lakh at a very nominal annual simple interest rate with repayment period of 15 years," a senior government official of the educational department said."The scheme covers education from Madhyamik level to professional courses including doctorate/post-doctorate research work in any recognized educational institute within or outside the country," the official said.This will not only be extended to students who made it to premiere institutes but the loan will be available to provide support to the students who want to prepare themselves for top central and state government jobs like UPSC and PSC. "The education loan shall also be extended for the students studying in various competitive coaching institutes to appear in IITS/IMs/NLUS/IAS/IPS/WBCS or other competitive examinations. It will cover various institutional/non-institutional expenses to ensure no student from the state of West Bengal is deprived of education due to lack of fund support," he added.Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will launch the scheme from the state secretariat on virtual mode on Wednesday and all the education departments and all the district administrative officials will be present in the launching programme in virtual mode.Earlier after the cabinet approval of the project, the chief minister had said, "This was in our election manifesto and it is our major scheme like Kanyashree and Sabujshree to provide financial support to the students. We want them to fulfil their dreams. A student can get a soft loan of up to Rs 10 lakh to pursue higher studies with the help of the credit card. A student up to the age of 40 years can apply for the loan. Fifteen years will be given to a student to repay the loan after getting a job. The interest rate would be low so that the student can repay the loan easily".The government of West Bengal has taken several initiatives e.g, free distribution of school bags, shoes, uniform, books, cycles, scholarships like Swami Vivekananda merit-cum-means, Kanyashree, increase in plan expenditure by 9 times during the last 10 years, to ensure manifold growth of the education sector in the State.
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