GALLE: India will extend more scholarships to meritorious Sri Lankan students in high schools and universities in the island, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna announced Thursday. "The number of scholarships and self-finance slots for undergraduate, master's and post-doctoral courses will be enhanced to 270 from 113 from the new academic year," Krishna said at a public function in this port city, 116 km from capital Colombo. The scholarships will cost the Indian exchequer Rs.114 crore, which will be equivalent to Sri Lankan Rs.2.50 billion. The scholarships, which will have three-year duration, will cover fee, cost of books, lodging and boarding of the bright students. Scholarship support to deserving students at GCE (General Certificate Examination) A level and university degrees will also be extended to 500 from 400 annually. The scholarships symbolise the spirit of the India-Sri Lanka knowledge initiative unveiled by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse to India in June 2010. The Indian government will also offer 50 scholarships annually in the name of Maulana Azad, a freedom fighter and prominent Muslim leader, for master's degree (post-graduate) in agriculture, science and engineering. "To share the benefits of India's successful growth story in IT with Sri Lanka, 25 Rajiv Gandhi scholarships will be granted to under-graduate students of engineering courses in IT in some top ranked institutes," said Krishna, evoking thunderous applause from the audience. Bright students will gain experience from world-class faculty and benefit from campus placements held by reputed IT firms for rewarding careers. The Indian government will also double scholarship scheme for Sri Lankans, rechristened the Nehru Memorial Scholarship Scheme, to 120 a year to enable students to pursue under-graduate courses in engineering, science, business, economics, commerce and humanities. Slots under the self-financing scheme have been doubled to 40 in medicine, dental science and pharmacy and engineering courses. "The expanded scholarship will benefit all segments of Sri Lankan society, including school students to university researchers and teachers." Krishna said.