'Ensure speedy clearance of student credit card applications'
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged more banks to come forward and disburse loans under the Student Credit Card scheme while distributing the cards on Thursday at the Netaji Indoor Stadium. As many as 5,000 students were handed over credit cards to facilitate their higher education.
The Chief Minister also urged all banks to ensure speedy clearance of student credit card applications while reiterating that her government will be the guarantor.
Banerjee referred it as a 'unique scheme' and said that 20,000 students' loans have already been sanctioned and another 25,000 loans have been given provisional sanction. A total of Rs 1,542 crore has been sanctioned under this scheme till now.
"Our cooperative banks are with us but we want other banks to come forward and help students with loans. Banks should release money. If money is not released then there will be no growth. This is our scheme and the government will stand guarantee so there should not be any problem in giving loans. So, I humbly request all banks to clear proposals as early as possible as the students are our future," Banerjee said. The card has a limit of Rs 10 lakh and students studying in class 10 onwards and aged upto 40 years are eligible for this card.
"Right from the days of Independence till our government came to power in 2011, no benefits were given to students. When we were young, our dreams had died due to a lack of opportunities. But our government has come up with such an initiative wherein students won't have to depend on anyone for pursuing their dreams," she said.
According to the Chief Minister, the loan will be available right from class X level to undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral study in India or abroad up to an age limit of 40 years.
"Many have been compelled to leave studies midway because of lack of money. If they get the opportunity to do it today, why should they not take it up? I believe that the pursuit of knowledge has no age limit. The learning process can go throughout a persons' life. We learn something new every day," Banerjee said, adding that the loan can be availed for course fees, tuition, hostel fees, books, study materials, computers or laptops.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) before the Assembly elections last year had made four promises in its manifesto. "One of them was the Lakshmir Bhandar scheme, another was doubling the amount from Rs 5000 to 10000 under Krishak Bandu scheme, the third was Duare Ration (Ration at Doorstep) and the fourth one was Student Credit Card scheme. The first three have started some time back. Students had to face a lot of hardship in availing loans from banks. There have been instances when students' parents had to mortgage their houses or properties to avail loans for higher studies of their wards. But now a student taking Rs 10 lakh loan on the card will have 15 years to repay it at a very low-interest rate and most importantly, the government is the guarantor so banks should have no hesitation in sanctioning loans," Banerjee said.
She also took the opportunity to hit out at Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar without taking his name. "Some are trying to threaten private universities in the name of audits. Remember, apart from the government, no one else has the power to conduct any audit. So don't get scared and work fearlessly. We don't want you (private universities) to be harassed," Banerjee said with the top brass of a number of private universities being present at the programme.
Reiterating that the government is committed towards ensuring better facilities and amenities for school and college students, she said 77 lakh female students have already come under the ambit of the Kanyashree scheme, and nine lakh class 11 and 12 students have received smartphones and tablets.