If you are a student looking for an education loan, there’s an easy way out. Now, you need not go through the ordeal of visiting one bank after another to get a loan. Just log on to www.vidyalakshmi.co.in and apply to multiple banks by filling just one form.
The portal has been launched in line with an announcement made by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his February budget speech. After applying for a loan on the portal, students can track the status of their applications, and avail various loan schemes being offered.
The portal has been developed by NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Ltd, in collaboration with the department of financial services in the ministry of finance, department of higher education (a part of the human resource development ministry) and the Indian Banks’ Association lobby group. NSDL is short for National Securities Depository Ltd.
Students will need to first register on the website and then fill a simple form to apply for a loan on the portal, which they can also use to write to banks about their grievances, if any, with the loan-sanctioning and disbursal process. The website also provides a link to the national scholarship website where students can access student loan schemes being offered by various government departments.
Thirteen banks, including the State Bank of India, IDBI Bank, Canara Bank, Union Bank of India, Bank of India and Punjab National Bank, are registered with the portal to offer education loans. Of these, five banks have integrated their system with the portal for providing the loan processing status to students.
The number of banks will increase in the coming days, said Gagan Rai, chief executive and managing director, NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure.
“All state-run banks will be covered,” he said.
In his budget speech this year, Jaitley had proposed to provide students a single-window electronic platform for scholarships and educational loans.
“With a view to enable all poor and middle-class students to pursue higher education of their choice, without any constraint of funds, I propose to set up a fully IT-based Student Financial Aid Authority to administer and monitor scholarship as well as educational loan schemes, through Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram. We will ensure that no student misses out on higher education for lack of funds,” he had said.
Total outstanding education loans falling under priority sector lending stood at Rs.58,700 crore as of end-June, an increase of 2.8% from a year ago.
“It will make it easier to get an education loan. At present, the only option is to physically go to every branch and apply for a loan. The approach also varies from one branch manager to another. If the name of the institution is not very well recognized, then banks are wary of giving a loan,” said Abhijit Shankar, 19, who has dropped a year after his 12th board exams, since he did not get into Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and opted not to go for the more expensive private colleges.