28,000 from drought-hit areas get exam fee waiver

As many as 28,750 students hailing from drought-hit villages and studying in colleges under the University of Pune will benefit from a state government decision to waive their examination fee.

The Board of College and University Development (BCUD) of the University, which had collected data about possible beneficiaries studying in affiliated colleges as per government orders, has submitted it to the state higher education department.

"We located around 28,750 students from drought-affected villages in Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts. The examination fee of these students will be waived by the government as a relief," BCUD director V B Gaikwad told Newsline on Sunday.

The state government has decided to waive exam fees of students from 7,064 drought-hit villages, where final 'Paisewari' is less than 50 paise. Paisewari, which means 'value of the crop', is used as a criterion for gauging drought situation in Maharashtra.

To this effect, the department of higher and technical education, on March 15, issued a government resolution announcing a scheme to waive college exam fees of all students from areas reeling under severe drought.

Students from drought-affected areas were complaining about their poor financial condition and demanding relief.

Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope had announced that no university or college should collect examination fees from students who hail from drought-affected villages notified by the government.

Maharashtra is experiencing one of the worst droughts ever, with both Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar saying the situation is more grim than what it was in 1972. A section students has demanded putting off examinations colleges in drought-affected areas.

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