Although minority scholarships are abundant in India, access to information about them is limited. Interested candidates find it difficult to gather all the required information and often miss out on one or the other aspect of filling the application form. This leads to rejection of scholarship applications and ultimately drop-outs due to non-availability of funds to pursue education.
Government websites like Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA), National Scholarship Portal (NSP) or MHRD often carry all the information but the structure and presentation of content are not easy to decipher. Students or their parents who come from notified minority communities face multiple challenges like lack of access to such portals or inability to comprehend the complex information required for the scholarship application.
Buddy4Study aims to simplify the process of scholarship application and that is why we decided to prepare an ultimate guide for Minority Scholarships in India that would help students and parents alike.
With 20.20% of its total population accounting for minorities, India is one of the foremost countries with a rich mix of citizens practising different religions. Before we start, let us gather an understanding of what exactly does the term ‘minority/minorities’ denote as per the Indian law.
What/Who is a minority?
The word ‘minority’ was first officially used in the Motilal Nehru Report in the year 1928 when he drafted a 10 point outline for the Constitution of India. The report mentioned protection of the rights of the minorities but did not elaborate on what constitutes the term ‘minorities’.
The Constitution of India adopted the term minorities under sections under Article 20 to 30 and 350 A to 350 B but did not define the constituents. After numerous amendments, the Government of India now recognizes Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians as being awarded the notified ‘National Minority Community’ status.
What is Ministry of Minority Affairs?
Formed out the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Ministry of Minority Affairs was constituted in the year 2006. The ministry works with a focused approach towards the notified minority communities and is involved in the formulation of overall policy and planning, coordination, evaluation and review of the regulatory framework and development programmes for the benefit of such communities.1 Read more about the Ministry of Minority Affairs here.
Current Office Holders (Year 2017)
Union Minister for Minority Affairs — Hon’ble Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
Minister of State for Minority Affairs — Dr Virendra Kumar
Secretary of the Ministry — Ameising Luikham
What are minority scholarships?
Under its various schemes for the welfare of minorities, the Ministry of Minority Affairs offers three scholarships schemes as a part of Educational Empowerment initiative. These schemes are:
Pre-matric Scholarship Scheme
Post-matric Scholarship Scheme
Merit-cum-Means Scholarship Scheme
In this guide, we will explore the Pre-matric scholarship scheme for minorities in detail. Keep watching this space for our in-depth post on Post-matric and Merit-cum-Means scholarships schemes as well.
Pre-matric Scholarship Scheme
Empowerment through education, the key objective of the Pre-matric scholarship scheme, enables parents to fulfil the dream of sending their wards to educational institutions without worrying about financial constraints. It aims at improving the socio-economic conditions of the minority community by empowering the students to gather skills and education required to make a place among the financially stable counterparts.
What is the scheme?
The scheme allows meritorious students from minority communities to apply for scholarships.
Who can apply?
Minority Community: Students hailing from Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Zoroastrians (Parsis) backgrounds notified under the Minority Communities under section 2 © of the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992 are eligible to apply.
Students from the residential government institutes and private institutions who wish to pursue studies from Class I to Class X and fall under the minorities category are eligible to apply for Pre-matric scholarships.
Who is eligible?
Eligibility is defined by two key criteria
Family income: Family income of the candidate applying for the scholarship should not exceed more than one lac from all sources. Family income implies income of the candidate’s parents or guardian.
Merit: Only those students who have scored 50% or above marks in the previous year final examination are eligible to apply.
What is the amount of scholarship?
Ministry of Minority Affairs offers the following benefits as a part of the Pre-matric scholarship scheme
- Admission/Tuition fee
- Maintenance allowance
For reference, hostellers imply students who are studying in the hostel of their school/institute or those provided by the Government.