Orphaned children and persons with disabilities (PWD) from economically weaker backgrounds are two of the most vulnerable groups in every society. The financial barriers to higher education faced by students from low income families are more widespread for orphan and disabled students. There is no established central or state government scheme to identify and provide academic and financial support to these two sections. However, the central government offers a scholarship of about ₹4,500 per annum for pre-matriculation, and about ₹13,000 per annum for post-matriculation students with disabilities. Not only is the sum insufficient for, orphaned and disabled students are often caught in bureaucratic loops.
An economically disadvantaged student is sustained by their parents/guardians’ income from all sources which does not exceed ₹2 lakh per annum. An orphaned student is one whose parents are dead or have permanently abandoned them. And a student with disabilities is one with at least 40% disabilities certified as per definition under Persons with Disabilities Act 1995.
Many people are there who are keen to provide the students financial support for higher education, but cannot do that due to unavailability of any opportunity. There is a need to create a web portal and a mobile app through which citizens can volunteer financial aid directly to the students.
The education department can create a Swabhiman donation app to bridge the gap between citizens sponsored aid and the economically disadvantaged orphans or students with disabilities. This initiative will help the students to study further, earn their livelihood, and to find a dignified place for themselves in society.
The students studying in Class X can send in applications. Once the applications are verified, the candidate’s identity details, percentage of marks in their previous exams, financial status, type of disability, and details of bank account can be uploaded on the website. The website and app will then allow people to directly contribute and donate money in the students’ bank accounts, using any instrument including internet banking or checque. If they wish, contributors should be able to search for students by name, school, native place, type of disability and economic status.
Once the total contributions reach the amount of ₹1 lakh, the details should be removed from the website so as to channelise further contributions to the next deserving case. The donors will be alerted if the amount exceeds ₹1 lakh, so that they can choose to either decrease their contribution or divert part of the donation to another student’s account or to the “SWABHIMAN” corpus. The corpus will be managed by a committee made up of eminent persons appointed by the education department which should decide to disburse the fund equitably to the students on a need basis.
With every successful payment, an SMS can be sent to inform the student informing of the amount credited to their account. An SMS should also be sent to the contributor acknowledging their contribution. There should be a provision to give each certificates to contributors from education department which can be downloaded from the web portal.
A cap of ₹1 lakh should suffice, keeping in mind the requirements of students from class X to a bachelor’s degree or diploma, and will cover the reimbursement of tuition fees and non-refundable charges paid/payable to the Institution, maintenance allowance and book and ad hoc grant.
|SSC (Class X)||Rs. 10000|
|Class XI and XII or post-matriculation diploma/certificates||Rs. 30000|
|Bachelor’s Degree or Diploma||Rs. 60000|
Any organization, corporate house and/or donor willing to donate assistive devices through this initiative should also have the option to approach the education department for further assistance.
This app will extend support to orphaned and disabled students for their studies in class X and onward so that the drop-out rate among these two sections, especially in the transition from the secondary to the higher secondary stage, is minimised.