NEW DELHI: Nineteen-year-old Mohammad Ali from Kargil says he kept himself away from smartphones for nearly a year while preparing for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) as he did not want to get distracted from his goal. The self-restraint paid off as Ali cleared the IIT JEE Advanced examination, the results of which were declared on Sunday. Army chief General Bipin Rawat and Union minister Jitendra Singh felicitated 30 bright students from Jammu and Kashmir here today. The students were trained for free for nearly 11 months under the “Kashmir Super 30” coaching programme to appear in the exams for admission to IITs and NITs, officials said. Ali is one of the seven students among them who cleared the JEE Advanced examination, they added. The programme was a joint initiative of the Army, the Centre for Social Responsibility and Leadership (CSRL), an NGO, and the Petronet LNG Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) division of petro firm Petronet LNG Ltd, a senior official of the foundation said. “As part of the programme, 50 students, including five girls, were selected from a large pool of applicants for 2017-18. Most of the students were from the Valley or Ladakh. The students were kept at residential facilities provided by the Army,” he added. Ali said he had no regrets for not using smartphones during his preparations for the exam. “When you are focussed on your goal, you do not feel the need for anything else. Other students also did not use smartphones. There was an environment of education that was created there and we all benefited from it. We used simple phones or used the phones at the office. “Now that I have cleared the JEE Advanced exam, I want to study in an IIT and become an engineer, and then go back and serve my state,” he told PTI. The official of the Petronet LNG Foundation said, “32 students had qualified for the JEE Mains examination, of whom 23 had registered for the advanced exam.” A CSRL official said, “About 2,000 students had applied for the initial written examination for selection to the Super 30 programme. After short-listing, interviews were held to select the final 50.” “The outgoing batch is the fifth batch of the programme. 45 boys were based in Srinagar and five girl students in Noida. Out of whom, 32 students, including two girls, have cleared JEE Mains and seven have cleared JEE Advanced,” the Army said in a statement. Gen. Rawat, during his interaction with the students at the South Block, shared his experiences of serving in the Valley, and motivated them to work hard and contribute actively to the process of nation-building, the statement added. The programme was “one of the most successful projects” undertaken by the Army in the Valley and had “directly impacted” the lives of a number of youths by providing them with the right guidance and opportunity to make a career for themselves, it said. “It is a major initiative towards bringing normalcy in the Valley,” the Army said. On similar lines, the Army has recently signed an MoU with the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and the National Integrity Educational Development Organisation (NIEDO) for medical aspirants, under which selected students will be provided with free residential coaching for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).