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“SHRESHTA” Scheme for Meritorious Students of Scheduled Castes Launched by MoSJE Minister Dr. Virendra Kumar

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Union Minister of social Justice and Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar launched the Scheme “SHRESHTA”

Union Minister Dr. Virendra Kumar, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE), launched the Scheme for Residential Education for Students in High Schools in Targeted Areas (SHRESHTA) on June 3, 2022, at an event in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

SHRESHTA was created in response to the Constitutional mandate to provide quality education and opportunities for even the poorest Scheduled Caste (SC) students.

Need For a Scheme Like SHRESHTA

i. Students from Scheduled Caste (SC) communities have long faced inequality and lack of access to high-quality education, which has been passed down through the generations.

ii.The Government of India (GoI) has made numerous efforts to promote educational opportunities without discrimination, resulting in near universal access.

iii. As a result, the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (DoSJE), MoSJE, has launched the SHRESHTA scheme, to provide seats for deserving SC Students in India’s best private residential schools who cannot afford the fee of such schools.

Scheme for Residential Education for Students in High Schools in Targeted Areas (SHRESHTA)


i. The scheme will provide meritorious poor students from SC communities, whose parental income is less than Rs. 2.5 lakh per annum, with free access to a high-quality education (from Class 9 to 12).

ii.Approximately 3,000 such students from various states and Union Territories (UTs) are selected each year under the scheme through a transparent mechanism called the National Entrance Test for SHRESHTA (NETS), which is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA).

  • Selected students are enrolled in the best private residential schools, which are affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), in classes 9th and 11th for education up to the 12th standard.
  • Following that, the students may be connected to the MoSJE’s Post Metric Scholarship Scheme or Top-Class Education Scheme in order to continue their education with enough financial assistance from the Indian government.


i. The scholarships will be funded by GoI, which will cover the school fee (including tuition) and hostel fee (including mess charges) via Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

  • The scholarships will be distributed to the schools in one instalment in the first quarter of each fiscal year.

ii.The maximum limits for covering all expenses: 9th class – Rs. 1,00,000 per annum (p.a.) per student; 10th class – Rs. 1,10,000 p.a. per student; 11th class – Rs. 1,25,000 p.a. per student & 12th class – Rs. 1,35,000 p.a. per student.

Selection of Schools:

i. The best performing private residential schools affiliated with the CBSE are chosen by the MoSJE through a committee composed of representatives from the Ministry of Education and CBSE & the Finance Division of the DoSJE. The scheme has so far identified 177 schools.

ii.The schools are selected based on a number of factors, including

  • Schools are in existence for at least for last 5 years
  • Board results of the schools were more than 75 % in Class 10 and 12 for the last 3 years, and
  • The schools have adequate infrastructure for admitting additional SC students in classes 9th and 11th.

iii. MoSJE has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and National Informatics Centre Services Inc. (NICSI) for the scheme to provide an e-counselling process.

Bridge Course:

A three-month bridge course is offered to SC students who transfer from state schools, rural areas, or regional language schools to assist them adjust to their new school environment.

  • The bridge course will address individual academic needs so that SC students in the scheme can catch up with the rest of the class.
  • An additional cost of 10% of the annual charge for the Bridge Course will be provided by MoSJE.

GoI Initiatives for Education of SC Category Students

i. Central Sector Scholarship Scheme of Top-Class Education for SC Students

This scheme will cover SC students pursuing studies after 12th class, which aims to recognise and promote quality education among SC students by providing complete financial support.

  • SC students who have obtained admission in a full-time prescribed course in any of the institutions approved by MoSJE and have a total annual family income from all sources up to Rs. 8.00 lakh will be eligible for the scheme.
  • The Scheme will be implemented in all institutions notified by the MoSJE for the fiscal years 2021-22 to 2025-26.

ii.Other state-funded and centrally sponsored pre-matric and post-matric scholarship schemes are available for SC/STs and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

iii. GoI has implemented campaigns for education of girls and empowerment of socially backward classes, which resulted in an increase of their Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER).

  • In comparison to the national GER of 27.1, the GER for SC is 23.4 and for Scheduled Tribes (ST) is 18.0.

iv.In 2020-21, the GoI allocated Rs. 569.03 crores for pre-matric scholarships for SC students, an increase of 61 % over the year 2019-20.

About Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE):
Union Minister – Dr. Virendra Kumar (Tikamgarh Constituency, Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State (MoS) – Ramdas Athawale (Rajya Sabha – Maharashtra); A. Narayanaswamy (Chitradurga Constituency, Karnataka); Pratima Bhoumik (Tripura West Constituency, Tripura)