The government has approved the continuation of the Central Sector National Means-to-Merit Scholarship (NMMSS) over the 15th Finance Commission cycle for a period of five years, from 2021-22 to 2025-26, at a cost of Rs. 1827.00 crore, with minor modifications to the eligibility criteria, such as raising the income ceiling from Rs.1.5 lakh to Rs.3.5 lakh per annum and revising the scheme’s renewal criteria.
The scheme’s purpose is to provide scholarships to deserving students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in order to prevent them from dropping out of class VIII and to encourage them to continue their education at the secondary level.
Each year, the scheme awards one lakh new scholarships of Rs.12,000/- per annum (Rs.1000/- per month) to selected students in class IX and their continuation/renewal in classes X to XII for study in State Government, Government-aided, and Local body institutions. Scholarships are awarded to students following a competitive test conducted by the state/UT governments.
The scholarship program is listed on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP). Scholarships are disbursed immediately into students’ bank accounts by electronic transfer via the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) using the Direct Bank Transfer (DBT) mechanism. The Central Government provides 100% of the cash for the scheme. This is a continuous scheme, and since its inception in 2008-09, 22.06 lakh scholarships worth Rs. 1783.03 crore have been sanctioned. Scholarships are scheduled to be distributed to 14.76 lakh students, with a budget of Rs.1827.00 crores approved for the scheme.
The History of the National Means-to-Merit Scholarship (NMMSS)
The ‘National Means-Merit Scholarship Scheme’ (NMMSS) is a Central Sector Scheme that was introduced in May 2008 to award scholarships to deserving students in classes IX to XII. The scholarship program has been added to the National Scholarship Portal (NSP). The initiative envisions awarding one lakh new scholarships each year to selected students in class IX and continuing/renewing them in classes X to XII for study in State Government, Government-aided, and Local body schools covered by the scheme.