Soon, thousands of students who win University Grants Commission (UGC) scholarships each year may no longer need to suffer delays in actually getting the money.
The UGC plans to cut through the red tape institutionalised in the country's university administrations to allow scholarship winners to access their financial aid directly from banks, under a landmark proposal it is working on.
The commission has already held meetings with Canara Bank and plans to meet other banks to tie up with them and open bank accounts for all scholarship winners who can then access their money directly, top government sources have told Hindustan Times.
The UGC, in collaboration with central ministries, offers a slew of scholarships to students from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minority communities, and for single girl children.
At present, the UGC transfers the scholarship amounts of selected students to their universities. The universities are then required to verify whether the student is meeting the requirements of the scholarship before handing over the scholarship.
But most universities take several months over this review process, routinely leading to delays in the scholarships actually reaching the students they are intended for.
Several scholars have even quit their academics because of their inability to afford their education while waiting for scholarships they have already earned, but not yet received.
Under the new proposal, the UGC will transfer the scholarship amount of a student to banks, who will then verify whether the student is meeting scholarship requirements before allowing him access to the money. Banks will be paid a fee by the UGC for the service.
Banks will have to complete their scrutiny and decide on allowing students access to their money within a fixed time period, in exchange for the service fee.
The proposal is also likely to benefit banks that tie up with the UGC, since the scholarship money will expand their deposit base for other investments or loans.