Foreign education scholarship for Open, OBC categories in Maharashtra


The Maharashtra government today decided to introduce a foreign education scholarship scheme for the 'open' (general) category and Other Backward Class (OBC).

Students from the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) already get scholarship for studying in foreign varsities.

The new scheme will cover the open category students, OBCs, as well as those from 'Vimukt Jaati and Bhatkya Jamati' (nomadic and denotified tribes), said an official from the Chief Minister's Office. Every year, 20 students will get the scholarship. Ten of them will be from the open category.

The announcement comes against the backdrop of Maratha community's agitation for quota. The politically influential community falls in the Open category.

The selected students will get funding for taking admission to 200 leading foreign universities, said the official. "The students will also have a special fee rebate in top 25 universities," he said. He further added that the emphasis will be on courses related to artificial intelligence, climate change, energy conservation, data analytics, and nano-technology.

Thirty per cent of the scholarships will be reserved for women students. The official added that Rs 20 crore would be made available for the scheme.

In the meeting chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the cabinet also gave nod for the formation of "Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Mission" for encouragement to organic farming. "The aim is to stop excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Also, it will focus on creating a mechanism for sale of organic produce," said the official.

In the first phase, the programme would be implemented in Buldhana, Akola, Washim, Amravati, Yavatmal, and Wardha districts.

The cabinet also paid homage to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who died in New Delhi on August 16.

The resolution moved by Fadnavis said the country has lost "a far-sighted, large-hearted and sensitive leader", and making India a great nation would be the real tribute to him.

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