Thinley Namgay 

Rayjina Lepcha, 29, from Chukha is a busy woman today. After receiving the Nehru-Wangchuck scholarship to pursue her masters degree in Construction Technology and Management at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, the engineer is attending her classes online.

Rayjina Lepcha is among 105 Bhutanese who have availed the scholarship so far since its inception on June 19, 2009.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she couldn’t go to India. “It is challenging with four to five assignments and a test every week. I did the first semester examinations by resorting to live sessions and recorded video lessons. I did my best, and I am waiting for the result,” said Rayjina Lepcha.

Rayjina Lepcha said that getting an opportunity to study in top Indian institute was a life-changing moment for her. “I am happy because not many get there. IIT Bombay never compromises  studies.”

The Nehru-Wangchuck Scholarship Programme provides eight scholarships every year to Bhutanese to study in premier Indian Institutes in strategic courses such as medical, engineering, IT, law, leadership, business management and natural sciences among others.

However, for the 2020-2021 academic session, the slots were increased to nine, of which three students are pursuing M-Tech programmes in the reputed Indian Institutes of Technology at Bombay and Delhi.

Ambassadors of India to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj handed a cheque of Nu 17.213 million (M) to the Chairperson of the RCSC, Karma Hamu Dorjee, yesterday at the Indian Embassy in Thimphu as funds for the scholarship.

Chairperson, Karma Hamu Dorjee said the Nehru-Wangchuck Scholarship Programme was an embodiment of the exemplary relationship between Bhutan and India and it would help contribute towards achieving the national objective of creating a ‘knowledge-based society’. “During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2014, the scholarship budget was doubled from Nu 10M to 20M starting from the fiscal year 2015-16.”

The two countries renewed the Memorandum of Understanding on January 7 this year to launch the third phase of the Nehru-Wangchuck Scholarship with another five years.

Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said that the new scholarship programme- ‘India Bhutan Friendship Scholarship Programme’ was started by the Prime Minister of India coinciding with the 40th birth anniversary of His Majesty the King on February 21 this year. “Every year, India will provide three best Bhutanese students to study at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.”

The first recipients of India Bhutan Friendship Scholarship – Srijana Gajmer and Sonam Tshering are about to complete the first semester in M. Tech (Control and Automation) and M. Tech (Computer Science and Engineering) through online classes and digital channels in December 2020.

Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy awarded a cash prize of USD 500 to Karma Choden at the Embassy, yesterday. She is currently working at the Cluster and Craft Bazaar Development Division of the Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts.

Karma Choden bagged the first position in the three minutes ‘Global Video Blogging Competition’ on the theme “Weaving relations-textile tradition” organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in October this year to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

It’s encouraging when our textile culture is being appreciated beyond Bhutan, said Karma Choden.

A total of 21 countries participated in this competition.