New Delhi, June 22, 2015: HRD Minister Smriti Irani today announced that IIT admission fees of Partapgarh brothers Raju and Brijesh, sons of a daily wager, would be waived even as support poured in from several quarters including Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The two brothers' "registration fees will be waived and (they) will be eligible for scholarships that cover tuition, mess and other charges," Irani tweeted, after the plight of the family to arrange the fees appeared in sections of media.
Raju (18) and Brijesh (19), sons of a daily wager from Rehua Lalganj village in Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh, have cleared the IIT Advanced examinations earlier this.
Raju secured 167th rank in his first attempt while his brother Brijesh stood 410th in the prestigious exam.
Earlier in the day, Congress Vice-President Gandhi spoke to the brothers over the phone and assured them all help.
He, subsequently, directed local party leaders including Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tewari and his daughter and MLA Aradhana to extend all necessary help to them.
"Congratulations to all those who cracked the IIT. Spoke to Brijesh & Raju from Pratapgarh on their tremendous success against all odds," Gandhi said on Twitter.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yadav too extended help and announced that his government would honour the two brothers and bear the expenses of their admission and education.
"Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has taken a decision in this regard taking note of media reports on how the two young brothers Brijesh Kumar Saroj and Raju Saroj successfully faced financial challenges and overcame all odds to crack the prestigious examination," a government spokesman said.
Sanitation NGO Sulabh International also assured help and said it would take care of all financial expenses of the brothers.
As helped poured in, Raju, one of the brothers, said, "I got calls from many people congratulating me.
I got a call from Rahul ji, and other eminent personalities for the first time and I felt very happy... (Bollywood actor) Aamir Khan called too and advised to continue study without any worry."
"I have faced difficulties since childhood.
The atmosphere of a village is such that you have to face difficulties.
One has to do all manner of small and big chores, and there is poverty all around. So we had to face all difficulties while studying.
I got help from the government.
I got admission to Navodaya Vidyalaya and studied my inter there... I got free coaching in Hyderabad. After that I cracked IIT," Raju said.
The duo's father Dharamraj works for a Surat mill.
The fees for the IIT programme runs to Rs 50,000 (Rs 30,000 admission fee and Rs 20,000 for the first semester).
Counselling begins on June 25.