Patna, Apr 4 (PTI) The Bihar State Education Finance Corporation, set up with a view to providing a boost the state’s ambitious “students credit card” scheme, was inaugurated here today by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said “the students credit card scheme aims at raising the state’s gross enrollment ratio for higher studies, which is currently 14.3 per cent as against the national average of 24 per cent. We intend to raise it to at least 30 per cent”.

Students credit card scheme forms a part of “seven resolves” of good governance pursued by Nitish Kumar government. The programme provides interest free loan of up to Rs four lakh to students to carry higher studies.

“The students’s credit card scheme is different from, and much wider in its scope than, education loans provided by banks. These loans are provided to only those opting for professional courses. This scheme is, on the other hand, available to all – even those pursuing BA, B.Sc or B.Com”, he said.

“Initially, we had developed a mechanism wherein the beneficiaries were to get their financial assistance through banks. But we noted that people from poor backgrounds are wary of approaching banks.

“Moreover, despite promising a 160 per cent guarantee, banks did not respond very favourably to the state governement. So we decided to set up our own State Education Finance Corporation which will provide the funds required for implementing the scheme”, the Chief Minister said.

Now, aspirants can approach the District Registration and Counselling Centres (DRCC) with their applications without any fear and they would be provided with the help they need, the CM said.

“Since the Coropration is a body of the state government, it will be more lenient towards the candidates for recovery.

In extreme cases, the loan taken by a candidate may even by waived “, Kumar said drawing applause by students who were present at the function.

He also said “I have been in the habit of monitoring the progress of all our schemes. I did so in the case of free uniforms and bicycles to girsl which led to a profound change in the mindset of our society. I will be keeping a close watch on students’ credit card too. Officials should take note and ensure speedy disposal of applications”.

At the function, held at the Chief Minister’s secretariat, three students – Aparna Kumari, Nisha Kumari and Mohammad Ismail recounted their experiences underscoring the benefits of students’ credit card to needy boys and girls.

Others who were present on the occasion included Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, state education minister Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma and Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.