Will enable collateral-free educational loans of up to ₹10 lakh at nominal interest rates
West Bengal will on Wednesday roll out a credit card scheme for students, allowing them to access loans of up to ₹10 lakh to fund their education. Those studying in the tenth standard or above and having lived in the State for 10 years will be eligible for the card.
Though a government order is yet to be issued and students have not been formally intimated, the Department of Higher Education has been holding online meetings with colleges to explain the new scheme . The scheme was among the poll promises made by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee during the recent Assembly elections.
The objective — according to a presentation shared with colleges — is to provide hassle-free and collateral-free loans to students belonging to West Bengal, with nominal simple interest of 4% for a maximum sum of ₹10 lakh so that they are able to pursue studies within or outside the State or abroad. In other words, banks will not insist on any security/collateral security in tangible/intangible form other than co-obligation of parents or legal guardians.
“In the end it boils down to money. Many students are forced to give up higher studies because they lack the economic power. The credit card should come to the rescue of people like us, who are financially weak,” said Suparna Mondal, a third-year student of English at the Gour Mohan Sachin Mandal Mahavidyalaya, located near Joynagar outside Kolkata.
The applications of students will be sent to the banks via their institutions and the Department of Higher Education. The loan can be used for institutional expenses (course and college fees) and for non-institutional expenses such as hostel fees/rent, purchase of laptop or study tours/projects. A student will have 15 years to repay the loan.