Scheme will be introduced from this year: Minister

The government will provide financial assistance to over 1,000 Sri Lankan Tamil students pursuing higher education in various colleges in the State.

Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam told the Assembly on Wednesday that the government was providing free school education to Sri Lankan students living in refugee camps. As it was necessary to fund their higher education, it would introduce a finance assistance scheme from this year.

About 21,500 Sri Lankan students in 112 refugee camps were finding it difficult to travel to educational institutions as the camps were far away.

Therefore, the government had decided to give five seats each in 1,254 hostels run by the Adi Dravidar Welfare Department (excluding hostels for tribals) and 1,238 hostels administered by the Backward Class Department.

Tamil scholars' pension to go up

On Tamil development, Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, S.P. Shanmuganathan, said the pension for Tamil scholars would be increased to Rs.2,000 per month. The prize money at the district-level competitions in essay writing and elocution for school and college students had been increased manifold.

The Tirukkural and the works of Bharathiyar and Bharathidasan would be translated into Arabic and Chinese and uploaded on the Internet.

The International Institute of Tamil Studies would be granted Rs.3.2 crore over five years for the translation works.