Philately is the hobby of collection and study of Postage stamps and also entails the collection, appreciation and research activities on stamps and other related philatelic products. The hobby of collecting Stamps includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organising, cataloguing, displaying, storing, and maintaining the stamps or related products on thematic areas. Philately is called the king of hobbies because Stamp collection as a hobby has lot of educational benefits – it teaches a lot about the socio economic political reality of the period in which the stamp is issued or the theme on which it is issued.
Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha today launched a Pan India scholarship program for school children called Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana to increase the reach of Philately. Under the scheme of SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby), it is proposed to award SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby) having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as a hobby through a competitive selection process in all postal circles. Briefing the media after the launch of the scheme, Shri Sinha said that under the scheme, it is proposed to award 920 scholarships to students pursuing Philately as a hobby. Every Postal Circle will select a maximum of 40 scholarships representing 10 students each from Standard VI, VII, VIII & IX. The amount of Scholarship will be Rs. 6000/- per annum @ Rs. 500/- per month.
The Minister said that to avail this scholarship, a child must be a student of a recognised school within India and the concerned school should have a Philately Club and the candidate should be a member of the Club. In case the school Philately Club hasn’t been established a student having his own Philately Deposit Account will also be considered. Every prospective school, which participates in the competition, would be assigned a Philately mentor to be chosen from amongst the renowned Philatelists. The Philately mentor would help in formation of the School level Philately Club, providing guidance to young and aspiring Philatelists on how to pursue the hobby and also helping the aspiring Philatelists on their Philately Projects etc. Sinha said that selections under the Deen Dayal SPARSH scheme would be made based on the evaluation of Project work on Philately & performance in Philately Quiz conducted by the Circles.