The Ministry of Minority Affairs has revealed that that over 1, 16,000 scholarships have been awarded under the Merit-cum-Means Scholarship scheme that had been launched in 2007. The scheme is a sponsored by the Central government and had been implemented by the ministry of minority affairs through state governments and Union Territory administrations. The scholarships under the scheme are available for pursuing professional and technical courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at institutions that are recognized by the proper authority under the scheme. Around 30 per cent of the total scholarships that are awarded are earmarked for girl students that can be utilized by boy students if an adequate number of eligible girl students are not available. A total outlay of Rs.600 crore has been provided for the scheme during the 11th five year plan from 2007-2012. On the other hand, Rs.135 crore has been allotted for the scheme during the current financial year of 2010-2011 and the target of the scheme is distribution of 55,000 scholarships. Till December 21, 2010, the number of scholarships that had been awarded for the current financial year was 36,932. This makes the total number of scholarships that had been awarded under the scheme till last month 1, 16,367. The merit-cum-means scholarships scheme is one of the three schemes that had been introduced by the ministry of minority affairs under the Prime Minister's New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities.