SHILLONG: The state government has announced scholarship under the Chief Minister Career Guidance and Counselling scheme for IAS aspirants in the state in collaboration with Alternate Learning Center. Addressing the media after the formal launch of the scholarship on Friday, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma raised concerns over the state’s poor performance in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations. He said the number of students clearing UPSC is too low and it is negligible in Garo Hills. Speaking about the importance of the programme, Sangma said, “This will go a long way for the talented youth of the state to compete at the national level. We did feel the need to come up with such a programme that will allow more of our talented youth to have the opportunity to get training like this.” Also, many aspirants cannot afford coaching classes outside the state and the programme will be helpful for them. “Earlier, the government started to send some students to Delhi but with the availability of suitable technology, we felt we can cover more students with a certain budget as sending an individual to Delhi costs a bit more. Now with the same amount we can give the same facility to more students. Therefore, we thought that this would be the appropriate way,” he said. “We have decided to give 100 per cent scholarship to the top 100 students out of 200 that we select. There will be an examination to be held on September 29 at every district headquarter to allow and enable all youth who are interested in this to participate. In this selection process, every district will conduct an examination on September 29,” he added. The results will be tabulated by Alternate Learning Center and it will be “a transparent process”. Top 200 students will be selected and a total scholarship of Rs 1.4 crore will be given to them. “Out of the Rs 1.4 crore, Rs 95 lakh will be given from the Chief Minister’s Career Guidance and Counselling scheme and will be used for 100 per cent funding for Top 100 students who will be selected based on their performance in the examination,” Sangma said. Similarly, national sales head of the centre Prateek Bhattarcharya said, “After the scholarship is granted, we will analyse the results and then select the top 200 talents of Meghalaya who will be trained in Shillong and Tura for a period of one year. They are then expected to appear in the UPSC examination next year.” He added that the top 100 students would be sponsored by the state government and the centre as a CSR initiative for the youth of the state would provide scholarship to the remaining 100. He added that the highest support in terms of sponsorship has been from the state. “With coaching centres in Shillong and Tura, we should be able to get many students from Meghalaya on the list of those clearing the UPSC examinations,” he said. Alternate Learning Center has 75 units across India, including more than 35 centres in the North East. This year, the institute has got sponsorship for civil service aspirants from the state governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya. Bhattarcharya added that more than 50,000 students from across the country had undertaken coaching from the centre in the past 25 years. It also runs satellite classes across India in which live transmission of the classes is made. The examination will be supported by the respective deputy commissioners of the district and Alternate Learning Center will conduct an awareness drive to reach out to the remotest areas and find out the top talents so that they can participate in the scholarship cum selection examination.
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