Financial burden of Rs. 2,500 crore on government
In a big relief to students of Telangana ahead of commencement of new academic year, its government has unanimously decided to bear the fee reimbursement in professional colleges and meet their scholarships in the new State alone while leaving out those of Andhra Pradesh and other States from the purview.
It effectively meant that students belonging to Telangana, irrespective of whether they are pursuing courses in the State or outside the borders, will be reimbursed fee and paid scholarships. But, the scheme will not apply to students of Andhra Pradesh and other States who are studying in Hyderabad or other Telangana districts. Their fee has to be met by the respective State governments. The decision was taken at an all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao at the Secretariat on Monday evening.
Briefing reporters about the outcome of the meeting, Deputy Chief Minister T. Rajaiah and Education Minister G. Jagadish Reddy said the students eligible for fee reimbursement would be identified on the basis of their income and domicile certificates submitted in the past.
There was no change in the criteria of their selection by the previous governments. The arrears in fee of outside students would also have to be paid by their State governments. The fee reimbursement and scholarships is expected to impose a financial burden of Rs. 2,500 crore on the Telangana government in 2014-15. It was Rs. 1,779 crore for 12.64 lakh students in 2011-12, Rs. 2,156 crore for 14.45 lakh students in 2012-13 and Rs. 2,091 crore for 14.32 lakh students in 2013-14.
The scheme was implemented by previous governments with a cap of Rs. 2 lakh in the annual income of parents in the case of SC and ST students. The limit was Rs. 1 lakh for BC, physically challenged, minorities and economically backward class students. Students who secured below 10,000th rank in engineering stream of EAMCET were fully reimbursed fee while only Rs. 35,000 was paid for others. However, the government did not take a view on medical students in second year and above.
The Ministers said the same criteria of payment would be followed by the new government. Senior Congress leaders D. Srinivas and J. Geeta Reddy hailed the decision of the government saying it showed the positive attitude of the government on the issue.