Patna, Feb 4: The Bihar government has decided to provide free education to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and girl students till Post Graduation (PG) level in the state.
The decision, taken at a meeting of the state cabinet, said no fee would be taken from the SC/ST and girl students at the time of admission in government universities and colleges in Bihar.
The government would reimburse the financial loss to such universities/colleges after gathering the actual information about it.
Cabinet Secretariat Department's Principal Secretary B Pradhan said "The decision will come into effect immediately after its notification tomorrow. The move will cost the state exchequer Rs 29 crore annually."
Pradhan said the landmark decision is expected to impact over four lakh students belonging to the three categories in the state, specially at the PG level.
"According to latest government data, there were 4.05 lakh SC, ST and girl students studying undergraduate courses in the state, but the figure declines sharply to just 10,870 students belonging to these categories at the PG level," Pradhan said.
The figures denote that a majority of students drop out from the educational system at the PG level and the state government took the decision to bring a positive change in this regard, he added.
In another decision, the state cabinet approved Rs 40.13 lakh for 22 caretakers sent by the state government for Haj pilgrims in 2014. They facilitated smooth pilgrimage for 6,667 devotees who went to Mecca and Madina from Bihar.
The state cabinet also approved Rs 44.87 lakh from the state emergency fund for expenditure on schemes under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
Cabinet sources said the draft of the state budget for Financial Year 2015-16, which would be tabled during the budget session of Bihar Legislative Assembly beginning on February 20, was also approved by the ministers present at today's meeting.