Maharashtra Govt Introduces Competitive Exam Coaching Schemes For Marginalised Students

Maharashtra Govt Introduces Competitive Exam Coaching Schemes For Marginalised Students

The panel, in turn, formed another sub-committee to prepare standard procedures for every aspect of training programmes, including evaluating and empaneling private coaching institutes, number of beneficiaries, assessment of applications and issuing tenders.

Musab QaziUpdated: Tuesday, April 02, 2024, 11:53 PM IST
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Mumbai: The Maharashtra government is planning to set up a common system to train students belonging to various marginalised communities for competitive exams. Earlier this year, the government appointed a committee to streamline various training programmes run by its autonomous bodies for marginalised groups such as Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), Maratha-Kunbis, the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and religious minorities.

The panel, in turn, formed another sub-committee to prepare standard procedures for every aspect of training programmes, including evaluating and empaneling private coaching institutes, number of beneficiaries, assessment of applications and issuing tenders.

Until now, the educational and welfare programmes for SC, ST, OBC, Marathas and EWS are independently conducted by their respective autonomous bodies, namely Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI), Tribal Research and Training Institute (TRTI), Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Research & Training Institute (MAHAJYOTI), Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research, Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI) and Academy of Maharashtra Research, Upliftment and Training (AMRUT). Since last year, the state has been trying to bring in a parity.

As part of this exercise, the state Higher and Technical Education Minister Chandrakant Patil had last year announced that the pre-exam preparation scheme will now cater to 750 candidates of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and 500 candidates of the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC). Until now, the scheme was extended to a maximum of 250 candidates in each category.

It was also announced that the state will also increase the stipend from Rs6,000 to Rs8,000 for MPSC aspirants and Rs8,000 to Rs13,000 for UPSC aspirants for eight months. On the the hand, the government is looking to drastically cut down the number of fellowships awarded to research scholars belonging to marginalised communities.

In June last year, the state chief secretary Manoj Saunik had directed to limit the number of fellowships to 400 – 200 for Scheduled Caste (SC), 100 for Scheduled Tribe (ST) and 50 each for Other Backward Caste (OBC) and Maratha students. This is a sharp reduction from around 3,000 fellowships given to these students in the last cycle.

Some activists believe that the standardisation will erode the autonomy of these organisations, which were set up to address the specific needs of various communities. Kuldeep Ambekar, president of Student Helping Hands, a Pune-based student organisation, said, “These bodies are meant to provide support for social, educational and economic development of students belonging to different communities. They work independently due to their unique objectives, policies and rules. However, due to a few common schemes, the entire structure of the organisations is being changed. All the myriad students are now being viewed with the same lens, which will prove to be detrimental.”

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