Govt. of Maharashtra: New Initiatives for Women's Welfare
Maharashtra Government
Maharashtra's New Initiatives for Women's Welfare

The Maharashtra government made a notable announcement on Monday, declaring that higher education expenses for girls from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC), and Other Backward Classes (OBC) will no longer be charged.

This initiative, aimed at advancing women's education, was agreed upon during a cabinet meeting led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. Furthermore, the government resolution (GR) also includes the exemption of tuition and examination fees for orphaned students of both genders.

Starting from the academic year 2024-25, the scheme is projected to incur a cost of Rs 906 crore. According to the government resolution (GR), female students enrolling in recognized vocational courses via the Centralised Admission Process in government, aided private, semi-aided private, and non-aided colleges, as well as polytechnics, autonomous government universities, and open universities, will be eligible for this initiative.

The covered courses encompass higher education, technical education, medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, animal husbandry, pisciculture, and dairy development.

However, students from private autonomous universities or self-funded universities, and those admitted through management and institutional quotas, are not included in the scheme. Eligibility requires female students to hail from families with an annual income of Rs 8 lakh or less, belonging to EWS, SEBC, or OBC categories. Both new admissions and current students pursuing their degrees will benefit from this scheme.

In the state budget, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar introduced several new schemes, including the Mukhyamantri Annapoorna Yojana (providing three free gas 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 years), and an overarching scheme for free education for women.

While the opposition has raised concerns about the funding sources for these initiatives, suggesting they are aimed at attracting women voters ahead of the state assembly polls, Chief Minister Shinde has emphasized that the schemes are financially supported and intended to be permanent.

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