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Scholarships by India Government


  • Cultural Exchange Programme

  • General Cultural Scholarship Scheme

  • Apasaheb Pant Scholarship Scheme

  • Commonwealth Fellowships

  • Technical Cooperation Scheme (TCS) of the Colombo Plan

  • Reciprocal Scholarship Scheme

  • Scholarship Scheme for Sri Lanka and Mauritius

  • SAARC Scholarship Scheme

  • ICCR Scholarship Scheme

  • Cultural Exchange Programme

Every year scholarships are offered to international students according to the terms and conditions of the Cultural Exchange Programme signed between the Government of India and the Government of the respective country for studying, training and research in various fields. At present India has Cultural Exchange Programmes with the following countries:

Australia, Algeria, Argentina, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Belgium, Bahrain, Colombia, Cyprus, China, Czech, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrghyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Maldives, Mauritius, Malaysia, Mexico, Mali, Netherlands, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Senegal, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Arab Republic (Egypt), Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zaire, Zimbabwe.

General Cultural Scholarship Scheme

Scholarships are awarded under this scheme (GCSS) annually to international students belonging to certain Asian, African and Latin American countries for the undergraduate, postgraduate degrees and for pursuing research at Indian universities. However, scholarships for medical studies for MBBS, BDS or for medical research leading to a Ph.D. degree are not offered under the GCSS scheme. A list of countries covered under the GCSS is given below:

Afghanistan, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Cameroon, Djibuti, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Guyana, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Laos, Lesotho, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Palestine, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Republic of Ireland, Sri Lanka, Syria, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uzbekistan, UAE, Vietnam, Yemen, Zaire, Zambia. Zimbabwe

Apasaheb Pant Scholarship Scheme

Under this scheme one scholarship is offered to a Kenyan national to pursue studies at the postgraduate level, preferably in the field of Economics or International Relations at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Apart from the usual dues, economy class air-fare is also provided

Commonwealth Fellowships

Scholarships and fellowships are offered annually under this scheme to candidates from Commonwealth countries mainly for postgraduate studies, though a few awards may be made available for undergraduate studies in those disciplines for which adequate facilities may not exist in the applicants’ country. Short duration scholarships are also available under this scheme for scholars wishing to collect material for conducting research projects back home.

Technical Cooperation Scheme (TCS) of the Colombo Plan

Under the TCS of the Colombo Plan, scholarships are awarded to the candidates of the following countries:

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Thailand.
According to the scheme, scholarships are offered for undergraduate, postgraduate and research towards a Ph.D. degree. At the undergraduate level a few scholarships are also available for engineering degrees or diploma courses.

The scholarships in this scheme are of two categories,

Category I: This category is for training of officers coming for short or medium-term courses.

Category II: This is meant for students, trainees, undergraduates and postgraduates coming for short, medium or long-term courses.

The duration of courses is as follows:

    * One year or less

    * Up to two years

    * More than two years

Reciprocal Scholarship Scheme

Candidates wishing to do postgraduate study or research in any subject for which facilities exist in India, may apply for a scholarship under this scheme. Applicants wanting to study or wishing to specialize in Indian Classical Music, Indian Classical Dance, Painting, Sculpture, Drama and Indian Languages may also be considered for admission at the undergraduate level. For undergraduate courses, international students may join any university or a recognized institution An international student wishing to study Indian languages, should join a university or institution as a regular student.
Scholarships under this scheme are available to candidates from the following countries: Austria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Switzerland, Suriname, Uruguay.

Scholarship Scheme for Sri Lanka and Mauritius

Under this scheme 77 scholarships are offered annually, 47 for Sri Lanka and 30 for Mauritius. These scholarships are for pursuing studies towards undergraduate, postgraduate degrees and for pursuing research towards fulfillment of a Ph.D. degree. Nationals of Sri Lanka can also study specialised subjects such as Agriculture, Engineering and Pharmacy under this scheme

SAARC Scholarship Scheme

To promote interaction among students, scholars, academicians from SAARC countries, the Government of India has introduced the SAARC Fellowship and Scholarship Scheme. Six fellowships and twelve scholarships are offered annually to the nationals of member countries viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Therefore, one fellowship and two scholarships are offered to nationals of each member country.

Fellowships and scholarships are offered for studies in areas of Economics, Education, Environment, Agriculture, Mass Communication, Language and Literature, Sociology, Transport Engineering, Applied Economics, Master of Business Administration Programme, Biochemistry, Social Work, Food Technology and Home Science.

In addition. one Chair is also awarded to a member country on rotation basis. Only such courses for which no adequate facilities exist in the member countries, are offered for study by the Government of India. The financial terms and conditions are finalised by the SAARC secretariat.

ICCR Scholarship Scheme

60 Scholarships under the ICCR scheme are offered annually for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Performing as well as Visual Arts. Subjects include Indian Classical Music, Dance, Painting and Sculpture. Facilities for doing research work in these fields are also available. Candidates from any country can apply

Terms and Conditions of Various Scheme

Under its scholarship schemes, ICCR offers the following facilities to scholars:

Living Allowance

Undergraduate/ Postgraduate Rs. 2,000/- per month
M.Phil/Ph.D./MD/MS/M.Tech/ME Rs. 2,800/- per month
Post-doctoral studies Rs. 3,500/- per month

Contingent Grant

Undergraduate/ Postgraduate Rs. 4,500/- per annum
M. Phil Ph.D. in humanities Rs. 7,500/- per annum
M. Phil/ Ph.D. courses in sciences, technology MD/MS/M.Tech /ME Rs. l0,000/- per annum
Post-doctoral studies Rs. 10,000/- per annum
Post-doctoral studies in Science, Engineering, Technology, Medicine Rs. 12,500/- per annum

Tuition Fees

ICCR pays all compulsory tuition fees charged by the universities institutions.
Thesis and dissertation charges:
Thesis and dissertation charges are fully reimbursed; if the expenditure is not beyond Rs. 1,000/-. Expenses above this limit are reimbursed to the extent of 50%.

Medical Benefits

ICCR pays for expenditure incurred by the scholar for medicines bought on the advice of the medical officer of the institution/ university. ICCR reimburses expenses except on tonics, surgical appliances, artificial aids, spectacles and similar articles. Claims for reimbursement should be supported by cash vouchers. Treatment requiring hospitalisation, should be referred to Government hospitals. However, cases requiring immediate and special treatment can be referred to private practitioners at the discretion of the head of the institution or the medical officer of the institution.

Study Tour Expenses

General Cultural Scholarship Scheme, ICCR Scholarship Scheme and Scheme for Nationals of Bangladesh, Mauritius & Sri Lanka
An amount of Rs. 2,000/- per annum plus first class train fare is given to the scholars.

Cultural Exchange Programme

Under the Cultural Exchange Programme study tours are reimbursed, but ICCR has to be informed of the study tour proposal well in advance.

Scholars proceeding on a study tour should have their study tour proposal certified by the Supervising Teacher or Head of the Institution concerned as an integral part of or as essential is enclosed at Annexure III. This form should be completed and sent to ICCR for clearance.

The scholar would be paid the cost of return first class rail fare non-air-conditioned or the actual bus fare together with the daily allowance as indicated below for the period of the tour:

For the first 30 nights at one place at Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Delhi Rs. 80/-per night
At all other places Rs. 60/-
For the period in excess of 30 nights at :
Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Delhi Rs. 60/-
At all other places Rs. 40/-
This daily allowance is given in addition to the normal monthly maintenance allowance.

House Rent Allowance

Accommodation Charges: Students staying in hostel in universities will have their hostel room rents including water, electricity and other charges reimbursed to them. Students not staying in a hostel would be given an accommodation allowance of Rs. 1,000/- per month. In order to qualify for this accommodation allowance, students are required to produce a certificate from the university authorities that hostel accommodation has not been provided to them. (Please see Annexure III).

How to Apply for a Scholarship

Offer of scholarships are sent to the respective Governments through Indian diplomatic missions abroad. Nominations are received from the respective Governments in the Indian diplomatic missions concerned. These are forwarded to ICCR for final selection and placement. Direct applications from candidates cannot be considered by ICCR. International government nominees have to fill prescribed forms for Scholarships for Foreign Nationals that are available with Indian missions abroad. While filling in the forms, the candidate must specify the course he wishes to pursue such as i) certificate/diploma ii) undergraduate degree iii) postgraduate degree iv) doctoral research work only. Candidates are also advised to consult the Handbook of Indian Universities available with Indian missions abroad to ensure the availability of their choice of a course in India. The application forms should include the required number of copies of educational certificates along with three copies of passport-size photographs. In some cases, a no objection certificate from the candidate’s employer or place of work is also required.

Medical and AIDS Test

Medical examination and production of a medical certificate indicating fitness to undertake studies in India are required. In addition, a medical test for AIDS has been made mandatory for all international students (self financing as well as government scholarship holders) coming to study in India. There have been cases where international students (after joining the respective institute) have been found to carry the AIDS virus. Consequently they have had to be repatriated to their home countries immediately. This causes embarrassment not only to the students concerned, but also to the Government of India. To avoid such a situation, it is advised that all international students coming to India should get themselves checked against AIDS before they set out from their countries. After arrival, all international students will have to undergo an AIDS test again to confirm their medical fitness for taking up studies.
Visa Regulations go top

All international students wishing to come to India, on self financing or under a scholarship scheme, are required to get a students’ vise from Indian missions abroad. For students on Government of India scholarships, the respective Indian missions are advised by ICCR to issue a regular student visa after the student’s admission in an Indian university is confirmed. Students coming on a self financing basis should produce confirmed letters of admission from universities or recognised colleges and institutions in India for obtaining the regular student visa.
Students not having firm letters of admission from universities or institutions will be issued Provisional Student Visa by the Indian missions abroad, on the basis of provisional letters of admissions. These Provisional Student Visa will be valid for 3 months. Within these 3 months, admission will have to be confirmed otherwise the student will have to leave India. No extension of Provisional Student Visa is permitted.

A student applying for regular or Provisional Student Visa will have to indicate the name of the university or college or institution where the admission has been arranged. The name of the university or college or institution is then mentioned in the visa. A request for change of university or institution subsequently made, cannot be considered.

“Change of purpose” of visit of international students to India is not allowed once they arrive in India. Therefore, students coming to India on tourist or any other type of visa, cannot get their visa changed to Student Visa once they are in India.

According to government regulations, if an international student coming to India on a tourist or any other type of visa (except a Student Visa ), obtains admission into a university or any institution in India, the student will be required to return to his country and obtain a new visa (i.e. a Student Visa) from the Indian mission there. To avoid this situation, all self financing international students are advised to obtain regular or provisional student visa from Indian missions abroad by producing confirmed or provisional letters of admission from a university or an institution.

Some Important Advice to International Students

Before Departure from his Country

It is advisable to find out from the nearest Indian diplomatic mission about travel, health, and other documents that are required before coming to India. The documents listed below may be necessary for international students coming to India:

  • Valid Passport

  • Confirmed letter of acceptance or a provisional admission certificate from a university or a college or institution

  • Proof of availability of sufficient funds for the duration of studies in India for self financing international students

  • Student Visa – Regular or Provisional

  • Health certificate and AIDS-free certificate

  • Information regarding customs and baggage rules is available with the Indian diplomatic missions abroad. Students are advised to consult these rules before coming to India.

It may be noted that as a general rule no financial assistance is available from the limited resources of Indian universities or colleges. A student should also not count on the possibility of getting jobs and earning some money during vacation periods. International students are therefore, urged to make adequate financial arrangements from their home country for the entire period of stay in India. Scholars under the Government of India scholarship schemes will however, receive a monthly maintenance allowance.

As the universities and other educational institutions have limited hostel facilities, international students are advised to apply for hostel accommodation sufficiently in advance and obtain confirmed acceptance while applying for admission. Staying in private accommodation may prove to be rather expensive.

On Arrival in India

An international scholar should make sure that he has enough money to meet expenses in transit as well as initial expenditure at his place of study. If he is carrying travelers’ cheques he must remember that these are accepted only at certain places. While banks will readily change them and some of the larger hotels and commercial establishments will accept them, it would not do to present a travelers’ cheque to a barber or a small shopkeeper.

Students under Government of India Scholarship Scheme should remember that a representative of ICCR will invariably meet the scholar on arrival unless information of arrival is received late. The international student is expected to meet all his expenses like porterage, taxi fare and he should not expect ICCR to pay on his behalf. The ICCR official will arrange and help the student obtain temporary accommodation, help him for his further onward journey by train or air and pay him his 3 months advance stipend. If by any chance, the ICCR does not have any information about the scholar’s arrival in India or the scholar fails to meet the ICCR official at the airport, the scholar should contact ICCR headquarters at New Delhi or any other regional office of ICCR.

Joining the Institute and Accommodation

After arriving in India, international students should try to complete the admission formalities immediately. They ought to contact the Registrar of the university or the Head of the department concerned. After completing admission formalities, the students must immediately get in touch with the hostel superintendent for their hostel accommodation. They should contact YMCA,YWCA or youth hostels where hostel accommodation in the universities is not available. A list of such youth hostels is given in Annexure V. Students should bear in mind, that accommodation on long term basis is not fixed in these places. Therefore, alternate private arrangements should be made by them as soon as possible.

The housing problem is not so acute in small towns, but in larger cities the problem is as acute for Indians as for foreigners. The student should not take it as a lack of hospitality or a sign of unfriendliness if he finds it difficult to get good accommodation.

The scholar can also contact the International Student’s Advisor of his University for a list of landlords who are willing to rent out their apartments to overseas scholars for a reasonable amount. The scholar can also contact the regional offices of the organisation “Experiment in International Living” (addresses given overleaf) for possible contact addresses to stay and for advice on how to adjust to Indian conditions.

The Indian Association of the Experiment in International Living

National Office
C/o Vishwa Yuvak Kendra,
Circular Road, Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi 110 021.
Tel 91- 011-301 4329
Fax 91-011-3011343

Community Representative Centres

Sh. S. K. Khanna,
M/s Hukam Chand Khanna & Sons,
Alishbag Road. Lucknow 226 004.
Tel 0522- 235217

Mrs. Memoona Rajkotwala,
Sagar Sangeet, A Block 23rd Floor,
P. O. Colaba, Bombay 400 005.
Tel 022- 2150416,2151539,

Sh. Dipak R. Bhataria,

Opp. Rang Upvan, Nanpura,
Surat 385 001.
Tel 0261- 430232.422726

Mrs. Bimla Hurra,
E 77/2 Sant Kutir,
Ashram Road,
Ahmedabad 380 009.
Tel 079- 449812

Medical Test for AIDS

As mentioned earlier, according to present regulations of the Government of India all international students coming to India for studies are required to undergo a medical test for AIDS virus. Facilities for these tests are available at most of the Indian cities. International students should contact these AIDS centres immediately after completion of the admission and housing formalities.

Joining Report and Payments

After joining their respective institutes, the scholars must send their joining reports to ICCR. A specimen format may be seen at Annexure III. Further release of maintenance allowance and payment of tuition and other compulsory fees of the institution are made by the ICCR only after receiving the joining report of the scholar. Scholars must send their joining reports at the earliest through their respective institutions.

House Rent Allowance (HRA) is given in cases where hostel accommodation is not available to the scholar and he makes his own private arrangement. For payment of HRA. a certificate from the institution stating that hostel accommodation could not be provided to the scholar, is required.

During a scholar’s stay at the university, he is better advised to send progress reports of his academic performance on a regular basis for smooth disbursement of his stipend.

Departure Tips

Once the student completes his course and is ready to leave his parent country, the following formalities have to be completed:

Obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the University. The student is expected to clear all his dues such as hostel, mess charges, library dues etc. before this certificate is issued.
Obtaining an Income Tax Clearance Certificate from the concerned Income Tax Office. This is required to be given to the Indian Immigration Authorities at the time of departure.

The Income Tax Certificate is given upon presentation of a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from ICCR, and a similar one from the university. Students planning to leave India after completing their studies may kindly contact the nearest regional office/ICCR headquarters in New Delhi for further information.

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