The scheme, which until now was completely centralized, was partially decentralized and was confined to only Class X. Under the new arrangement the selection of candidates for the awards became a two-tier process. The states and the union territories were entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the first tier screening examination known as State Level Talent Search Examination. Each State and Union Territory was to select and recommend a stipulated number (as per state quota) of candidates for the national level examination to be conducted for about 3000 candidates by the NCERT. The number of scholarships, however still continued to be 750 including 70 for SC/ST candidates. The state and the union territory quota was to be computed proportionately on the basis of the student enrolment at secondary level with a minimum of 10 for a union territory and 25 for a state and a maximum of 500 for either of the two. This quota was to be reviewed every three years. The states and union territories had complete autonomy to design and conduct their written examinations. However, they were advised to follow the national pattern which comprised MAT and SAT. The MAT, which consisted of 100 multiple choice type questions, was to be attempted by all the candidates. The SAT consisted of 200 questions containing 25 multiple choice type questions each on eight subject areas namely Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography, Civics and Economics. The candidates could choose any four out of these eight subjects and had to answer a total of 100 questions in the SAT. A stipulated number of candidates who qualified at the national level examination were called for face-to-face interview. The award of scholarships was finally determined on the basis of the candidates’ scores obtained in all the three components namely the MAT, the SAT and the Interview.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation set up in 1961 by the Government of India to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programmes for qualitative improvement in school education. The major objectives of NCERT and its constituent units are to: undertake, promote and coordinate research in areas related to school education; prepare and publish model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, journals and develops educational kits, multimedia digital materials, etc. organise pre-service and in-service training of teachers; develop and disseminate innovative educational techniques and practices;collaborate and network with state educational departments, universities, NGOs and other educational institutions; act as a clearing house for ideas and information in matters related to school education; and act as a nodal agency for achieving the goals of Universalisation of Elementary Education. In addition to research, development, training, extension, publication and dissemination activities, NCERT is an implementation agency for bilateral cultural exchange programmes with other countries in the field of school education. The NCERT also interacts and works in collaboration with the international organisations, visiting foreign delegations and offers various training facilities to educational personnel from developing countries. The major constituent units of NCERT which are located in different regions of the country are: