Maharashtra government to provide students with HIV free primary education
Around 4.22 lakh people in the state were affected with HIV in 2016-17.Updated: May 18, 2018 10:58 IST
The Maharashtra government has decided to include school-going students who are affected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the category reserved for socially and economically weaker sections (EWS) under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
Following the provisions of the RTE Act, the fees of students with HIV will be paid by the state. Approximately 4.22 lakh people in Maharashtra were affected with HIV in 2016-17. In 2016 and 2017, Maharashtra recorded the highest number of new HIV infections in India.
“We have decided to allow students affected with HIV to enroll under this category (socially and economically weaker section) and avail benefits like students from other communities. They don’t have to submit income certificates to get benefits under the scheme,” said a senior official.
HIV damages the immune system. Although there is no cure for it, the virus can be contained with retroviral therapy, which allows a patient to live a normal life and reduce chances of transmission down to 99%.
If a patient does not get treatment, their condition can advance into acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
The RTE Act provides 25% reservation for children from economically weaker sections, whose primary school fees are to be borne by the state government. The act was implemented in Maharashtra for the academic year of 2013-2014. Since then, on an average, 1.26 lakh students have benefitted every year from the RTE Act’s provisions.
Income certificates will also not be demanded from students from Vimukt Jaati/nomadic tribes(VJNT), other backward classes (OBC), special backward classes (SBC ), Nomadic Tribes (B) Nomadic Tribes (C) and all minority communities who meet the description of the EWS category under the RTE Act.
“We have decided to remove the mandatory condition of submitting income certificate to the students from weaker section following the Bombay High Court orders, as the income certificate condition was not applicable for deprived sections. This was done to remove disparity in implementing the scheme,” the officer said.
The state school education department will also reopen the online admission process for a week. Of the total 1.26 lakh seats available under the EWS category, the state government till date has given admission to 49,318 students.