Efforts on to resume govt's free coaching scheme: Minister

New Delhi: Free coaching for meritorious students under a Delhi government scheme has hit COVID-19 roadblock, but efforts are on to resume the classes soon, Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said on Thursday.

Coaching classes under the 'Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojna' for this session had started in March. "But the pandemic disrupted the classes," he said. Around 15,000 seats have been reserved in 46 reputed coaching institutions under the scheme this year, the minister said.

Online classes could not be started as it is difficult to monitor how many students are taking them. Also, many students don't have a laptop or mobile phone. So, this puts them at a disadvantage, Gautam said.

"We want to start the classes as soon as possible. If the Centre allows, we can start in September," he said. The Delhi government had last year expanded the scheme to include all children who have passed Class X and XII from the national capital and whose annual family income is less than ?8 lakh.

Earlier, the scheme was only for students belonging to the Scheduled Castes category. The maximum financial assistance a student can avail under it was also increased from Rs 40,000 to Rs 1 lakh. Students can avail the scheme to prepare for examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board, Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board, banks and insurance companies and to prepare for medical and engineering pre-examinations. Last year, 4,953 students got free coaching under the scheme.

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