Taking a cue from Rajasthan and Kerala, Maharashtra Government has decided to implement a Rs 200 crore pre-matric scholarship programme for 13.63 lakh tribal students in the State, beginning this academic year.

The ambitious programme entails an annual expenditure of Rs. 200 crore and is aimed at encouraging more tribals to educate their children and render financial assistance to children of tribals, a senior official said.

“Pre-matric scholarship will be sanctioned to the tribal students studying in Class I to X, whose parent/guardian’s income is below Rs. 1.08 lakh per annum,” Principal Secretary, Tribal Development, P. S. Meena said.

Students from Class I to IV will get Rs. 1000 per annum, V to VII Rs. 1500 per annum and VIII to X class Rs. 2,000 per annum.

The scholarship won’t be applicable for children of employees of State government and its corporations, the official said.

The scheme, approved by the State cabinet, has been christened ‘Golden Jubilee pre-matric Scholarship’ for tribal students to mark the State completing 50 years of establishment this year, Mr. Meena said.

The scheme would help augment family income of tribals and wean away children from child labour, the bureaucrat said.

The percentage of school dropouts among tribal students will decrease considerably following implementation of the scheme and would help Maharashtra implement the Right to Education Act effectively, Mr. Meena said.