One of the greatest accomplishments of the founding fathers of the Indian republic was to make our constitution as inclusive as possible. India is a diverse country, the individual population of many communities living within its borders outnumber the population of many countries. To protect the interests of each group of people living in India is a herculean task, indeed. Yet, the drafters of India’s constitution ensured that there are provisions that safeguard the interests of even the least privileged among us. In addition, through the Ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs, Women and Child, and Human Resource Development, various schemes and policies like National Overseas Scholarship, Pre-Matric Scholarships, Post-Matric Scholarships continue to cater to disadvantaged groups through special provisions and protections.
One such special interest group whose interests need to be protected through special provisions are the Scheduled Tribes. Scheduled Tribes (STs) are officially designated groups of historically disadvantaged people in India as recognised in the Constitution of India which lays down the general principles of positive discrimination towards them. Since independence, the Government of India has enacted many progressive legislations, programmes and schemes for the development and empowerment of the STs. In the sphere of education, too, many schemes specifically work towards the upliftment of scheduled tribes by providing scholarship aid. One such scholarship for students from scheduled tribes is the National Overseas Scholarship.
The National Overseas Scholarship for students belonging to the scheduled tribes is an initiative by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The scholarship is meant for students who wish to pursue an education abroad after their graduation for their masters, PhD, or post-doctoral studies.
The main objective of the scheme is to provide financial assistance to students selected for pursuing higher studies abroad in certain subjects at the Masters level, and for Ph. D and Post-Doctoral research programmes. Bachelor level courses in any discipline are not covered under the scheme.
To be eligible for the scholarship, a candidate must:
Under the scheme, 20 scholars will be selected per year – 17 from Scheduled Tribes, and 3 being reserved for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups. Furthermore, 30% of the awards (6) are reserved for girl students as well.
Each selected scholar will receive complete tuition fees, return airfare, visa and insurance expenses as per their chosen country and course.
In addition, the National Overseas Scholarship provides an annual maintenance allowance of USD 15,400 for the US, or GBP 9,900 for the UK is also made available. (For any other country, an equivalent to the US amount in local currency is disbursed)
Furthermore, an annual contingency and equipment allowance for books/essential apparatus/study tour/typing and binding of thesis, etc. is also made available. The figures for this are USD 1532 for the US, and GBP 1116 for the UK.
Eight separate fields of study have been identified for which the National Overseas Scholarship is applicable. The number of slots are also fixed for each field, as listed below:
|FIELD OF STUDY||NUMBER OF SLOTS|
Financial assistance under the scholarship will be provided till the completion of the course/research or the below period, whichever is earlier:
(a) Post-Doctoral Research – One and a half years
(b) Ph. D. – Four years
(c) Master’s Degree – One/Two/Three years, depending upon the duration of the Course
To apply for the scholarship, a student must:
Step 1: Visit the website of the Ministry of Tribal affairs
Step 2: Register and Log in with their details
Step 3: Fill in the application form for the scholarship
Step 4: Submit the application form with all the required documents
For any student belonging to the scheduled tribes, there couldn’t be a better opportunity to pursue their higher education abroad with a scholarship than the National Overseas Scholarship.
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