Engineering aspirant Allan Lwamafa, a Ugandan national, says he learnt the hard way not to trust "agents" who lure foreign students.
A third-year student at a Bangalore college - Lwamafa requested the college identity not be disclosed - he was drawn to India in 2007 by attractive offers of scholarships peddled by agents in his country.
"The agency that advertised the scholarships appeared genuine, and they had a tie-up with another agency in India which was to help me obtain the scholarship. But together, they duped me," recalled Lwamafa, who plans to work in India to recover the costs of his education.
Not only did Lwamafa not receive scholarship, he had to pay his tuition fees twice as the agents who took his first semester fees as deposit disappeared without paying the college.
Indian students have over the past few years repeatedly faced fraud abroad, but foreign students coming to India have on several occasions also found themselves cheated by agents, possibly with the collusion of some institutions, complaints with the government suggest.
The PMO on Monday met top government officials to finalise on a blueprint to attract foreign students to India and to make their experience here pleasant. The blueprint, sources said, will also aim to reduce the chances of students getting duped.
"Most of the foreign students duped in India come from Africa or the smaller nations of Asia," an official said.
A Ugandan newspaper last month exposed a scam involving agents in that country and in India, who were systematically cheating Ugandan students into going to India based on false promises.
In 2010, the Royal Bhutanese Embassy sent a tersely worded note to the Indian foreign ministry, revealing how select Indian institutions were cheating Bhutanese students by charging them fees beyond what they were required to pay.
Several Nepalese students were trapped in a racket last year.