The government is mulling increasing the number of scholarships for differently-abled students, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar today said.
“Currently, around 2,500 scholarships are being provided to differently-abled students. We are thinking about how this number can be increased and how differently-abled students can avail more benefit from these programmes,” he said.
Javadekar was speaking at the convocation of the Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University here, his first such event after taking over as the HRD Minister.
Underlining his priorities, he said after assuming charge he received requests from many universities to attend convocation ceremonies but he chose to begin with this unique varsity.
He said two senior officials of the HRD Ministry would visit this university to look for ways to further strengthen education for the different-abled.
He said differently-abled persons constitute about 3 per cent of the population and the focus of the Narendra Modi government is to reach out to all sections of the society, including the marginalised and poor.
Javadekar and BJP MP Prabhat Jha, who was also present, were conferred honorary D Litt degrees by the university.
Lavishing praise on university Chancellor Jagadguru Rambhadracharya, he said despite not having the gift of sight, he managed to create this varsity which has given high-quality higher education to thousands of differently-abled students.
In his speech Rambhadracharya said he had run the varsity for several years now and it was time for it to be turned into a central university.
Javadekar said at present, as many as 128 Equal Opportunity Cells are functioning in various universities to make colleges and varsities more responsive to the needs and constraints of the disadvantaged social groups.
He said a one-time grant of Rs 2 lakh for establishing the office of Equal Opportunity Cell will be provided.
He also lauded the initiatives of the Indira Gandhi National Open University to start an Indian sign language research and training centre.
Rambhadracharya also made a reference to the situation in Kashmir and said for students of the university, the country comes before everything else.
During Javadekar’s visit to Chitrakoot, some anganwadi workers also raised demands regarding their working conditions and he assured them that he would raise their demands before the appropriate authority.