GUWAHATI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Assam government on Saturday announced five years of free higher education for students belonging to families with combined annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the state’s education minister, said the scheme would cover both boys and girls.
“Students belonging to families with annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh can now study from Class 11 up to three-year degree (graduation) course for free. They won’t have to pay for admission, monthly fees, magazines, games, sports or anything,” he said.
The scheme will cut across education streams, providing benefits to students studying in arts, science and commerce colleges along with those in polytechnics.
“We are weighing the options of bringing engineering, medical colleges and universities under the ambit of this scheme,” the minister added.
Assam has 310 colleges and around 60,000 students will be benefit from the scheme.
The scheme’s declaration was partially in keeping with BJP’s pre-poll Vision Document, which promised free college education for girls from all economic classes.
The announcement, which is likely to cost the government Rs 70 crore per year, coincided with chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal seeking financial assistance from the Centre to tide over a liability of Rs 10,000 crore, which according to the CM his government had “inherited from the previous Congress government”.