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Maharashtra: Free higher education for girls from EWS, SEBC, and OBC segments

July 9, 2024

On Monday, the Maharashtra government announced that higher education for girls from the Economically Weaker Section (EWS), Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC), and OBCs will be free. This move is seen as a significant effort to support women ahead of the upcoming assembly polls.

In a cabinet meeting led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, it was also decided to waive tuition and exam fees for orphan students. This policy, set to start in the academic year 2024-25, is expected to cost Rs 906 crore.

According to a government resolution (GR), female students seeking admission to recognised vocational courses through the Centralised Admission Process in government, aided private, semi-aided, and non-aided colleges, as well as polytechnics and autonomous universities, can avail themselves of this facility. The eligible courses span various departments including higher and technical education, medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, animal husbandry, pisciculture, and dairy development.

Students from private autonomous universities, self-funded universities, and those enrolling through management and institutional quotas are excluded from this scheme. The GR specifies that female students from EWS, SEBC, and OBC categories with an annual family income of Rs 8 lakh or less are eligible for the fee waiver. Both new admissions and current students can benefit from this scheme.

In the state budget, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also announced the Mukhyamantri Annapoorna Yojana (providing three free cylinders to women), Mukhyamantri Yuva Karyaprashikshan Yojana, Mukhyamantri Krishi Pump Yojana, Mukhyamantri Majhi Ladki Bahin Yojana (offering a monthly allowance of Rs 1,500 to eligible women aged 21 to 60), and a scheme to provide free education to women.

The opposition has raised concerns about the funding sources for these schemes, alleging they are designed to attract women voters before the state assembly elections. However, Chief Minister Shinde has assured that financial provisions have been made and these initiatives will be permanent.

Source: PTI

Also read: HETS announces upto 100% scholarships for top Maharashtra universities

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