Selected under the initiative 'Project Kashmir Super 50' run jointly by the Indian Army, Centre for Social Responsibility and Leadership and Petronet LNG Ltd, 32 Kashmiri students, including two girls, cleared the JEE Mains, 2018, while seven of these went on to crack JEE (Advanced) also, becoming eligible for the 23 IITs across the country.
A group of qualified students met Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat here on Tuesday, who, according to a defence ministry statement, "motivated them to work hard and contribute actively in the nation building process".
This is the fifth batch to have been trained by the Indian Army and its NGO and other partner, which first started the programme in 2013.
Under the initiative, only students from impoverished background who have scored more than 70 per cent marks in class 12 were selected. The selected students are then required to clear an aptitude test after which they are judged whether they make it to the top 50.
"As part of the 11-month programme, selected students are provided with complete free residential coaching for IIUnder an Indian Army project 32 Kashmiri students cracked the Joint Entrance Exam, Mains, this year, an official statement said on Tuesday.
One of the girl students who qualified for the JEE Mains told IANS that such programmes were needed because not many in her village knew about the opportunities that exist in the mainstream world.
"There are hardly any schools and those that are remain closed for most part. I got to know of the programme on a chance visit to Srinagar. I didn't even tell my parents that I had given the exam fearing that they may not approve of it," Fareeda Khatoon, who hails from Chiktan village in Kargil, said.
Ms Khatoon, who was boarded in Noida during her coaching, said she wanted to pursue civil engineering.
After doing it for engineering aspirants, the Indian Army has recently signed an agreement for medical aspirants with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and National Integrity Educational Development Organisation (NIEDO), under which selected students will be provided with complete free residential coaching for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).