Govt launches SCC project to promote Pharmacy Education

On completion of the course, the students have to repay the loan in a period of 15 years. The annual interest rate is 4%.

Pharmacy Course College Student
Picture: Pixabay

The faculties of pharmacy education in West Bengal feel that the student credit card (SCC) system launched by the state government from this year for all higher education courses will promote pharmacy education in the state where the admission for all pharmacy courses was started on August 19.

The student credit card will enable the students of diploma, degree and post graduate courses in pharmacy (D Pharm, B Pharm, M Pharm/Pharm D) to avail collateral security free loan of upto Rs. 10 lakh in a year at simple interest rate.

On completion of the course, the students have to repay the loan in a period of 15 years. The annual interest rate is 4%.

As of now, there are 55 public and private institutions in West Bengal that run various courses in pharmaceutical sciences and admission is progressing in all the colleges through online mode, says Dr Soumya Das, a member of APTI and HoD of Pharmaceutics at the Bengal School of Technology at Hooghly.

Medical Store Pharmacy Medicine Pharmacist
Picture: Pixabay

Sharing information with Pharmabiz, Dr Soumya said the credit card loan project introduced by the higher education department in West Bengal will help the poor students to pursue pharmacy education without any financial constraint.

She said the loan to be availed for tuition fee will be credited to the institution’s account from the respective banks. Students can apply for the loan using the SCC from the banks which have tie-ups with the government. Government is the guaranteer for the loan amount availed by the students.

Regarding employment opportunities for the students who are opting for availing loan through SCC, Dr. Soumya said recently the chances for qualified pharmacists in West Bengal have increased a lot.

The pharmacy graduates are absorbed in pharmacovigilance programmes, medical coding and pharmaceutical technical writing. She said opportunities in these areas are increasing in West Bengal in addition to pharmacy services with the increase in various healthcare projects.

As regards the SCC project, she emphasized one fact that those who are willing to pursue any course in pharmacy are now provided with an opportunity to opt it with financial support from the government at a rate of 4% annual interest and a repayment period of 15 years.

Welcoming the initiative by the government, the state president of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) Prabir Kumar Bannerjee said this project will support the college managements to run the show without putting pressure on students for tuition fees.

This benefit is in addition to the scholarships and stipends being given to the reserved category students. Any student can apply for the educational loan and a certain percentage of which can be utilized for non-institutional expenses also. He said this will take away the divide between the haves and have-nots among the students of all higher education courses.

Bannerjee said although SCC is a solution for financial constraints as far as the students of higher education are concerned, there will be a big gap between the demand and supply with respect to employment. Every year a lot of pharmacy students pass out from all the institutions.

But they face the challenge of finding a suitable job somewhere. After one year of completion of the course, the students have to pay back the loan amount in installments. He suggested that the institutions in the state should make proposals to the government to help the pharma sector bring up more industrial units, clinical research organizations and allied sectors to generate more employment opportunities for the pharmacy graduates and post graduates.

As far as D Pharm holders are concerned, they will get jobs in medical stores and in the hospital pharmacies, he told.

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