Janki Purty wants to major in geography, but her family's paltry income scarcely pays for books or coaching classes.
The 21-year-old student of St Xavier's College, Ranchi, who is a native of Jamshedpur, is now inching closer to her dreams. Janki, who applied for the Jyoti Fellowship, has received Rs 4,500 with which she can pay her examination fees and buy books.
The story of Rashmi Purty, a second-year student of zoology at Jamshedpur Women's College, is no different either.
Around 679 SC/ST students like Janki and Rashmi were awarded the Jyoti Fellowship and Moodie Fellowship at a function organised at the Tribal Culture Centre in Sonari on Wednesday.
Jamshedpur MP Ajoy Kumar was the chief guest on the occasion, while Tata Steel vice-president (corporate services) Sanjiv Paul was the guest of honour.
Addressing students, the MP said: "Make sure that when you grow up, you do something for your community. You may become engineers, doctors and teachers, but don't forget where you grew up."
Paul added: "The scholarship is motivation. It is a push to your dreams. The rest you have to do it yourselves."
Jyoti Fellowship, a scholarship programme funded by Tata Steel, started in the 1970s. It extends financial support to deserving students hailing from East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan in Jharkhand, and a few districts of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
It has become an intrinsic part of Tata Steel and students from intermediate, degree, postgraduate (general streams), LLB, B.Ed, polytechnic, hotel management, MBA, masters in rural development or social work, agriculture and forestry are selected after a rigorous screening process.
This year, the total amount awarded to 568 recipients of Jyoti Fellowship was Rs 26.91 lakh. Scholarship money for individual students ranged between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000.
"I received Rs 3,000. It means a lot to me. My father is a farmer and cannot buy me books. I want to pursue higher education in economics and become a lecturer," said Rina Sardar, a Class XI student of Kasturba Gandhi Awasiya Vidyalaya in Potka and a Jyoti Fellowship beneficiary.
The Moodie Fellowship is funded by Finlay Moodie and Sheila Ann Moodie of Great Britain. It extends support to students from Purulia, Bankura and Midnapore districts of Bengal too. It is given to students from medical, engineering, MCA, polytechnic, microbiology and biotechnology.
The amount disbursed this year was around Rs 12 lakh. The beneficiaries were 111 SC/ST students.