The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has now made higher education its thrust area with a view to increasing the gross enrolment ratio to 15% by the end of the 11th Plan. A key announcement in this regard was made in Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's budget speech itself on Monday in the form of a student loan for economically weaker sections. Under this scheme, eligible students will be provided full interest subsidy during the period of moratorium. It will cover loans taken by such students from scheduled banks to pursue any of the approved courses of study, in technical and professional streams, from recognised institutions in the country. An estimated five lakh students would benefit from this scheme. Further, he has extended the scope of Section 80E of the Income-tax Act
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