Aid for drought-hit students

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Education dept compiles data of graduation and PG students from affected areas to be given financial help.

The State Directorate of Education (Higher Education) and the Maharashtra Council of Agricultural Education and Research (MCAER) have undertaken separate drives to compile data of students studying in areas affected by the drought prevailing in different parts of the state.

Among these students, those who do not receive any kind of government scholarship will be considered for financial help by the state with help from a charitable trust.

Both graduation and post-graduation students from agricultural universities, and only PG students from non-agricultural universities would be considered for the financial aid.

Speaking to Newsline, Director of Higher Education P R Gaikwad said the drive to collect data of PG students has been carried out as per the instructions of Maharashtra Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope.

"The directorate has provided all public universities a comprehensive state-level list of more than 9,400 severely affected villages, asking the functional heads of each varsity to collect the desired data of students from colleges coming in those areas. The drive has evoked good response, and we have located around 56,000 students. These are to be screened further for a final list to be sent to the government," he said.

MCAER vice-chairman Vijay Kolte said all four agricultural universities in Maharashtra had been informed to send us a list of students requiring help in the ongoing situation of water scarcity. "We have nearly 45,000 students studying in all four agricultural universities. We will be sending a final list to the government compiling how many of these fulfill the criteria to receive financial help," he said.

MLC Hemant Takale, who is the trustee of Rashtravadi Welfare Trust that has been offering financial help to the drought-affected needy students, said they planned to give Rs 2,000 per student. "The next couple of months ahead of the monsoon would be crucial and we are hopeful the money that we are going to give to the affected students would prove useful," he told Newsline, adding that the process of disbursing money to needy students would start immediately once the educational authorities completed their drives.

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