Kolkata: For many students who aspire to sit for joint entrance examinations for engineering and medical streams but lack financial support, help has come from 'Lakshyabhed' - a joint initiative between district administrations and an NGO.
Founded in 2010 by former Birbhum district magistrate Saumitra Mohan in collaboration with the Kolkata-based Liver Foundation of Dr Abhijit Choudhary, the programme provides free-of-cost training and coaching to shortlisted needy students.
Now the initiative has spread its wings to North 24-Parganas, Murshidbad and Purulia districts where the respective district administrations have rendered infrastructural help while finances are arranged by the Foundation.
Already more than 100 students trained by Lakshyabhed have qualified in the engineering and medical joint entrance examinations since its inception four years back, Mohan claimed.
Mohan, who is at present the district magistrate of Burdwan, recalled that in the year 2010 when he was the DM of Birbhum he had met Choudhary, a renowned liver transplant specialist in the country, who broached the idea of setting up such a body.
Initially, it provided help to aspirants of Medical JEE and later it was extended to engineering JEE as well.
Mohan said that every year 50 students, 25 each for medical and engineering, are selected through a screening test which is held in the month of January or February.
The screening test is taken by those students who have already passed their class XI exams with around 75 per cent marks though their is reservation for SC and ST students as well, Mohan said.
After they qualify in the written examinations, the students have to appear in interview where merit, motivation and economic background are factored in for selection.
Funds are raised by Liver Foundation from philanthropic organisations and business houses, he said adding that former West Bengal Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh had been a motivating factor at Lakshyabhed.
Mathematician Anand Kumar had launched a similar programme Super 30 in 2002. It has achieved much accalim and 308 students have made it to IITs out of 360 who appeared from the institution so far. Apart from coaching, food and accommodation are provided free of cost to students.