Mumbai: The Maharashtra education department will carry out a survey of all government-aided schools in the state to verify genuine and bogus students, after a project revealed inflated figures of 140,000 fake pupils on school rolls, an official said here on Thursday.
The fake students issue was placed before the cabinet on Wednesday by School Education Minister Rajendra Darda.
The pilot project was initiated in Nanded district over a period one year.
"We shall also raid the schools suspected to be inflating the number of students on their rolls," an official of the education department told IANS, preferring anonymity.
The education department has swung into action seeking details of the number of genuine students, the amount of grant applied for and allocated to the concerned schools and then determine the number of fake students, the official revealed.
While welcoming the government move, legislator Kapil Patil who represents teachers said: "We believe that this practice (of bogus students) could be more in rural and ashram (residential) schools than in urban centres where strict monitoring already exists," Patil said.
"Going by the Nanded report, it appears that the inflated number of students could be almost 20 percent," Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told media persons Wednesday.
There are around 1.40 crore students attending aided schools across the state. For these, the government has a budgetary support of a whopping Rs.27,000 crore per annum.
A large part of this is spent on teaching and non-teaching staff salaries, students` benefits like free or subsidised uniforms, books and stationery and the mid-day meals.
"Inflated figures of students help the institutes extract more funds from the government, which could...run into several hundred crore rupees," the official explained.