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Mamata urges banks to open purse strings

Loans can be taken for course fee, tuition, hostel fee, books, study materials, computers or laptops. Any student taking a Rs 10 lakh loan on the card will have 15 years to repay it at a very low interest rate

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yet again urged banks to provide loans to students under the Student Credit Card scheme while 5,000 students were handed over cards today to pursue higher education. Till now, 14 banks have been associated with this scheme.

“Our cooperative banks are with us but we want other banks to come forward and help students with loans. Banks should release money. If money doesn’t flow then there can be no growth. This is our scheme and the government will stand guarantee so there should not be any problem in giving loans. So, I humbly request all banks to help immediately,” said Miss Banerjee at a programme to hand over credit cards to students at Netaji Indoor Stadium.

Calling it a ‘unique scheme’, Miss Banerjee said around 20,000 loans had been sanctioned and another 25,000 have got provisional sanction. A total of Rs 1,542 crore has been sanctioned on this account, till now, she said. The card has a limit of Rs 10 lakh and students studying in Class X onwards and aged up to 40 years are eligible for this card. Loans will be available for undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and postdoctoral study in India or abroad, Miss Banerjee said.

Loans can be taken for course fee, tuition, hostel fee, books, study materials, computers or laptops. Any student taking a Rs 10 lakh loan on the card will have 15 years to repay it at a very low interest rate, she added. “From Independence till our government came to power in 2011, no benefits were given to students. When we were young our dreams had died due to lack of opportunities. But our government has come up with such an initiative wherein students would not have to depend on anyone for pursuing their dreams,” she said, adding that January 1 is celebrated as Students Day in the state and January 1-7 as Students Week.

Miss Banerjee said that West Bengal tops the country in primary education. Jadavpur University and Calcutta University have yet again been ranked first and second respectively in the country in the category of state-aided universities. She further said that barring the government, no one else has the powers to do audits for private universities, “Some are trying to threaten private universities in the name of audits. Remember, apart from the government no one else can audit private universities. We don’t want you (private universities) to be harassed,” she added.

On the occasion, Miss Banerjee inaugurated Chingrighata foot overbridge through remote control, which has been constructed at a cost of Rs 9 crore.