The Education Finance Corporation would provide funds up to Rs 4 lakh to a student to pursue higher studies without worrying about expenses, Chief Minister Kumar said while intervening in reply to a question.
"The gross enrolment ratio for higher studies in Bihar is 13.9 per cent. The students' credit card scheme was launched to raise this to at least 20 per cent so that more youths have access to quality higher education," he said.
The SCC scheme was launched in October 2016 despite financial strains caused by devastating floods, he said adding that an agreement was signed with banks that for every Rs 100 borrowed by a student, the state government will provide a guarantee of Rs 160.
"However, we noted that the banks were delaying the disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries", Mr Kumar said.
The delay could have been partly caused by very high number of claimants, but even then, their response was not along expected line, the chief minister said.
"So, we decided to set up the Education Finance Corporation which will help in implementing the scheme without involving banks from the next financial year," he said.
He also expressed concern over the dwindling number of Ganga Dolphins, and announced that a research centre devoted to the species would soon be set up at Patna or Bhagalpur.
The first preference of setting up of the research centre is the premises of the Patna University, Mr Kumar said adding that if that was not possible because of shortage of land, it would be established at Bhagalpur.
"The Ganga Dolphin was declared the national aquatic animal after I moved a proposal to this effect at a meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority chaired by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," the chief minister said.
Mr Kumar also said the state government was releasing money from its own contingency fund to make up for the shortfall in the centrally-sponsored old age pension scheme.
The shortfall was not caused by any irregularity but the number of beneficiaries in the state is more than 50 lakh whereas the Centre had fixed a limit of 29 lakh for the state, the chief minister said.
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