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Scheme for minorities to continue

New Delhi, Aug. 7: The government will continue with a scheme that provides cheap educational loans to minority students for overseas study, minority affairs minister Najma Heptulla told the Lok Sabha today.

It was the UPA II government that announced the Padho Pardesh (study abroad) scheme last year. It’s open to meritorious students from economically weaker sections of the notified minority communities: Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains.

Canara Bank is the implementing agency for the scheme, which covers undergraduate, Masters, MPhil and PhD courses.

Heptulla said that only those students were eligible for the scheme whose families’ annual income from all sources did not exceed Rs 6 lakh.

She told the Lok Sabha that some scholarships provided to minority students were not on a par with those given to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students. She said her ministry had approached the finance ministry to bring parity between the two.

“We do not want any discrimination against any community. We want to follow the policy of sabka saath, sabka vikas (development for all),” Heptulla said.