Maha govt announces free higher educations for girls from EWS, SEBC, OBC segments

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Mumbai, Jul 8 (PTI) The Maharashtra government on Monday said higher education for girls of the Economically Weaker Section (EWS), Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC) and OBCs will be free, the announcement being seen as a major women-oriented sop ahead of the assembly polls later this year.

In the cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, a decision was also made to waive tuition and exams fees for orphan students (male and female), as per a government resolution (GR).

The decision will be implemented from academic year 2024-25 and is expected to cost Rs 906 crore, it added.

A GR said female students seeking admission to recognised vocational courses through Centralised Admission Process in government colleges, aided private colleges and semi-aided private colleges and non-aided colleges, polytechnic, autonomous government universities, open universities can avail the facility.

These include courses run by higher and technical education, medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, animal husbandry, pisciculture, dairy development departments.

However, students from private autonomous universities/ self-funded universities, those enrolling through management and institutional quota will not be eligible for the scheme.

The GR said female students whose annual family income is Rs 8 lakh or less and who are from EWS, SEBC and OBC are eligible for the free waiver.

New admissions as well students currently pursuing their education degree will also be eligible for the scheme.

In the state budget, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar announced Mukhyamantri Annapoorna Yojana (aimed at giving three free cylinders to women), Mukhyamantri Yuva Karyaprashikshan Yojana and Mukhyamantri Krishi Pump Yojana, Mukhyamantri Majhi Ladki Bahin Yojana (eligible women in the age group 21 to 60 years will get a monthly allowance of Rs 1,500) and a scheme to provide free education to women).

The opposition has questioned the source of funding for these schemes and claimed they are aimed to woo women voters ahead of the state assembly polls.

However, Chief Minister Shinde has stressed that monetary provision has been made for the schemes and the initiatives will be permanent. PTI PR BNM

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