The state government’s decision to give 50 per cent fee concessions to students pursuing professional courses in private and government-aided colleges whose family income is upto Rs 6 lakh across castes, communities and religions is the highest-ever relief given in Maharashtra.
Data from the Ministry of Education and Finance shows that in 1991-92, the annual income ceiling for fee concession to students was Rs 4,800. In 1992-93, it was raised to Rs 15,000. In 2012-13, it reached Rs 1 lakh.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took the decision to raise the annual income limit of the family from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 6 lakh, providing 50 per cent fee concessions to students pursuing professional courses in medical, engineering and others private and government colleges.
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Till now, the fee concession was extended to students representing only the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. Students from these communities already got 50 per cent reimbursement of fees.
Now, while retaining the concessions for SCs, STs and OBCs, the government has extended them to students across all communities and religions whose family’s income limit does not exceed Rs 6 lakh.
The Chief Minister said, “It is an inclusive education policy where students will get a level playing field. There will be no discrimination in extending the concessions to students representing any religion, caste or community.”
Notwithstanding the financial burden of Rs 1,000 crore, the decision has been welcomed by Kranti Maratha Morcha volunteers.
A senior functionary said, “ While we know that Maratha reservation is a long-drawn process, raising the income upto six lakh will help maximum children from rural Maharashtra representing the farmers’ community.”
According to Satjajit Maske of Dr BR Ambedkar Marathawada College, “Major concerns of the students is affordable education, specially when pursuing higher studies.”
The decision will benefit 35,000 students in government-aided colleges and 3 lakh students in private colleges. Extension of special fee sops to children of farmers with land holding upto 2.5 acres by repaying the interest on the study loan covers 80 per cent of the families involved in agriculture activities in the state.