The Assam government has made first year college education free for students whose parents’ annual income is not above Rs.1 lakh. State health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that Assam has become first state in the country to give free higher education. Sarma said,
“Free education is offered by several states in primary and secondary level but as far as I know, we have become the first to give this in higher secondary and above level. This benefit will start immediately with the first batch of new admissions this year and will continue in the next coming years. The students do not have to pay a single penny as admission fee or as tuition fee or any other fee like sports, library or sports etc.”
He claims this will cover 310 government and provincialized colleges across the state benefitting 50,000-60,000 students. Private institutions are outside the purview of this decision.
The state government will incur an additional expenditure of Rs 70 crore for this in the first year, which will increase in the subsequent years.