In a major revamp, the state government has decided to upgrade the hostels and other facilities for the backward classes students. There is a big jump in allowances for inmates and over a dozen new facilities will now be provided.
According to available information, over 10,000 students living in government-run hostels for backward classes will now get stomachful meals, including non-vegetarian dishes and sweets.
Informing this, the Maharashtra minister for social justice and special assistance, Shivajirao Moghe said in the new GR, issued on July 26 this year, the government has incorporated a clause that hostel facilities should be revised every five years. The last time it was done on May 16, 1984.
"In fact the GR clearly mentions now that food served in hostels should be sumptuous, nutritious and unlimited for each of the inmates," said Moghe. If the changes ordered are carried out, then it will bring a sea-change at theses hostels.
Earlier, non-vegetarian dishes and sweets (for vegetarians) were served once a month. Under the revised norms, they will now get it twice a week. There was no provision of giving breakfast or snacks. Now, each student will be entitled to two boiled eggs and corn flakes with milk as well as snacks like poha, usal, and upma, sheera along with an apple or any seasonal fruit daily. The GR gives all specifications of quality food. Green salads, ghee, papad and pickles will be new additions.
About the revision of facilities and allowances given to SC, ST students, Moghe said for one reason or the other, this was not done for years. The last time it was done was on May 16, 1984.
Moghe, who did his studies staying in hostel said, "In my student days I have lived in these hostels. So has the present chief secretary Ratnakar Gaekwad. So we know the situation prevailing in government hostels and the plight of students."
There is also a big jump in monthly maintenance stipend given to inmates. At the divisional level hostel, the increase will be from the current Rs 200 to Rs 800 each student and at district level from Rs 75 to Rs 600. At the taluka level hostels, the dole has been hiked from Rs 50 to Rs 500. Girls will be entitled to an additional Rs 100 for cosmetics. The inmates will also get raincoats, umbrellas and gumboots. Allowance for uniforms, aprons and drawing boards for engineering students has also been increased manifold.
"There will be a big rise in the expenditure for implementing the new norms. But funds are not a problem. We will provide whatever is needed,” asserted the minister.