HYDERABAD: The State government will spend a whopping Rs. 2,333 crore to provide free education to 33-lakh students by reimbursing their fee.

“Is it possible any where else in the country,” Chief Minister Y. S.Rajasekhara Reddy remarked at a review meeting with Higher Education Minister D. Sridhar Babu, School Education Minister D. Manikyavara Prasad and AP State Council of Higher Education Chairman K.C. Reddy here on Sunday.

Stating that the gap between rich and poor students had been bridged by the fee reimbursement introduced by the government for all the students with annual income of Rs. 1 lakh, Dr.Reddy said this year alone Rs. 11,000 crore would be spent on education.

He said the government was committed to bridge the urban rural divide in terms of education. “No student, to which ever caste or creed, he or she belongs, should be deprived of education,” he pointed out.

‘UGC stunned’

Dr. Reddy said the University Grants Commission was stunned when the AP government informed that Rs. 500 crore had been allocated for the Rajiv IIITs in the State. The State government has succeeded in bringing top class educational institutions with in the reach of rural students in their own backyard, he pointed out.

The Chief Minister also pointed out that thee were 3,000 colleges in the State in 2003-04 but it has now touched 6,000.

In all 18 new universities were established nearly making it one varsity for every district, he noted and reiterated the government’s commitment to provide quality education to the students.

The Chief Minister said an action plan has been prepared to improve the standards of education.