The students, who have a family income less than Rs. 1 lakh per annum, will be able to get free education for three year degree and polytechnic diploma courses in the state from this year. This will be the first time when a state would make higher education free for poor students.
According to Education Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, “There will be absolutely no fee for those students whose parent’ income is less than Rs. 1 lakh a year. Benefitting over 50 to 60 thousand students, it will cover 310 government and provincialized colleges across the state.” Though, students will not be able to take admission in the private institutes under this programme.
In the first year of running of the programme, the state government will provide a total of Rs. 70 crore and will increase the amount in subsequent years. Sarma further said, “For other disciplines, we are talking to universities, medical colleges and engineering institutes in the same line. As these are autonomous institutions we will need their consent.”
In order to take advantage of the facility provided by the government, the students will have to produce documentary evidence of their yearly income of the family in form of salary slips or proof of income by circle officer or mauzdar. In case they could not arrange any one of the data, then the principal of the respective college and the admission committee will decide whether to provide free admission to the student concerned or not.
On replying to the inadequate fees charged by the private institutes and the steps taken by the ministry in this regard, Sarma said, “This government will act soberly. We will not act with regulation or threat against the private sector. We will discuss and act. Private institutes are giving employment too. If I bring in any regulation, many institutes may close down and people will be unemployed then. Our motto is to take everyone along with us- Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.”