Subir Raha Memorial Scholarship instituted at Jadavpur University

Subrata Sarkar of First Year, Computer Science is the first recipient of the Scholarship.

The Subir Raha Memorial Scholarship was instituted in February 2011 at Raha's alma mater, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, in time to sponsor a student for the academic year 2011 – 12.

The Scholarship is co-sponsored by Team Raha Ideation (trIdea) Private Limited, the consulting firm founded by Raha following his retirement as Chairman and Managing Director of the ONGC Group of Companies, and Areva T&D (India) Limited, where he served as Advisor to the Board of Directors. It comprises a purse of Rs. 20,000 and a Certificate to be disbursed annually to a meritorious student of the University. The selection of this student, actual disbursement of the funds and tracking of fund usage will remain the prerogative of the University and its Alumni Association. An initial corpus of Rs. 2 lakhs as been earmarked for this purpose by trIdea.

Subrata Sarkar, a First Year student of Computer Science, is the first recipient of the Scholarship. He scored 74% and 80% marks at Madhymamik (Class 10) and Higher Secondary (Class 12) board exams respectively, and excelled during the admissions process to earn the free studentship from the University.

Subrata was awarded the first installment cheque of Rs. 5,000 by the JU's Dean of Students, Prof. Rajat Roy at a function held on March 29, 2011 at the Alumni Association Hall. The event was attended by the President, the Vice President and other dignitaries. Similar cheques will be presented every quarter in July, October and December to him. It is, however, emphasised by the Alumni Association that Subrata will continue to receive the assistance for his future years at JU provided he improves upon, or at the very least, maintains the minimum grades for eligibility for the Scholarship. If he does not, another candidate will be chosen from the next academic year onwards.

2011 has seen a quantum jump in sponsorships at Jadavpur University, with Rs 10 lakhs being disbursed versus about Rs 6 lakhs in 2010. 386 students appeared for sponsorship interviews and the Association provided assistance to 284, representing a success rate of 73%. Sponsorships are made to the Association by alumni as well as philanthropic organisations and individuals. Contributions are received via regular and one-time donations, as well as through the establishment of Endowment Funds invested in secure bank fixed deposits, with the interest being used exclusively to fund the Student Assistance Programme.

The standard assistance of Rs. 4,500, Rs. 3,500 and Rs. 3,000, to Engineering, Science and Arts faculty students respectively, have been granted to 273 students. While admittedly small, considering the expenses that outstation students have to bear, the increased collection this year has allowed the Association to increase the grants by Rs. 500 each over the previous year.

Subrata Sarkar is among 11 students who received the maximum permitted grant amount of Rs. 20,000 towards their education and boarding expenses.

Hailing from village Shantipur in the Burdwan district of West Bengal, Subrata belongs to a Scheduled Caste background. His father is a farmer, and his family owns 4 bighas (1 acre) of land on which rice is grown. However, as the land is low-lying and gets waterlogged each summer, they can grow only one crop, which limits income from farming to only Rs 15,000 per year, as per the certificate provided by the Chairman, Guskara Municipality. Subrata has an elder brother studying Physics at Vishwa Bharati University at Kolkata, who supplements the family income by giving tuition. An elder sister has studied up to high school only and stays at home. While Subrata's father had taken a mortgage to cover his educational expenses, he has taken the unusual step of opting for an educational loan of Rs. 1.32 lakhs and released the mortgage. Subrata has also applied for the SC/ST aid to further support his education.

Subir Raha was unequivocally appreciative about the contribution of Jadavpur University in his life. He credited the University with much more than his higher education – he respected and revered it for instilling in him the confidence that he had the capacity to rise to the greatest challenges, and the strength of character to stand up to fierce opposition and ubiquitous corruption, eventually earning the reputation of being incorruptible despite the influential positions he held. The Subir Raha Memorial Scholarship is aimed at providing brilliant students with the opportunities to excel in their chosen fields and take their own careers, and India, forward with the same dedication, integrity and spirit that Raha had during his lifetime.
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