New Delhi: Government run education loan portal Vidya Lakshmi is a single platform where students can avail information on loans offered by 34 banks. Following the IBA guidelines, the portal is operating under the aegis of Department of Financial Services, Department of Higher Education and Indian Banks Association (IBA). With its scholarship initiative, Vidyasaarthi, the NSDL e-governance enabled portal has been able to help the students of remotest areas of the country as well in finding financial assistance for their studies.
NDTV talked to Mr. Gagan Rai, Managing Director & CEO of NSDL e-Governance about how convenient it is for students and how beneficial has it been till date.
How has Vidya Lakshmi, as a one-stop platform, been able to address issues of education loan seekers?
Vidya Lakshmi is one of its kind portal for students to apply for educational loans. Just by filling up a single common education loan application form, students can apply to 3 banks of his/her choice at one time, thus making the process applying of education loan application transparent, fast and hassle free.
What have been the figures so far in the number of students who availed the loans and total loans disbursed under the scheme?
Ever since Vidya Lakshmi portal was announced operational in August 2015, a large number of students have availed this facility. Also students continue to apply to the banks directly and banks have been uploading their data on the portal, So far, 4.69 lacs student's loan data reside on the portal since inception.
What difference has Vidya Lakshmi made, in the current market of education loan?
Earlier the student needed to visit a bank to bank to apply for Education loan. The process involved a lot of paper work. With Vidya Lakshmi, the process of Education loan application has become online thus it involves lesser paper work. The student can also send any grievances directly to bank in which he/she has applied for education loan online through the portal.
Which courses and institutes the loan seekers are applying for and availing the loans the most?
Courses like engineering, medical and management have high percentage in loan seekers.
Is there any relaxation in interest rates, loan seekers get through this scheme? If no, how beneficial is the scheme?
Interest rates vary from bank to bank and depend on the loan scheme. A student can opt for any scheme of any bank of his choice.
What are the norms for defaulters?
Vidya Lakshmi Portal (VLP) provides a platform wherein students apply for loans to their preferred bank and bank processes and disburses the loan. Each Bank has its own set of norms for dealing with defaulters.
How much time does it take to approve and sanction the loan?
As per the IBA guidelines, loan should be processed within 15 days of receipt of duly completed application form with supporting documents and sanction/rejection should be communicated to the applicant.
In terms of number of applications received, which Indian state is ahead and which is behind?
Students who have applied for educational loans are most from Tamil Nadu. Lesser number of applications is seen from states like Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland.
What steps are you planning to increase the reach of the portal?
We are conducting several awareness campaigns through social media, targeting student community and making them aware about the Vidya Lakshmi portal. We also have created brand video explaining the process of applying loan via Vidya Lakshmi in simple steps.
Has it benefited students in rural areas?
Through Vidya Lakshmi any student from the remotest part of the country can apply to Education Loan, as the process of applying for education loan is completely online. Accessible education has been an endeavor of NSDL eGov , thus we started one more project to bridge the gap education funding called Vidyasaarathi. Through Vidyasaarathi students can apply for scholarships funded by corporates as a part of their CSR initiative.
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