Mumbai: The Maharashtra government`s Minorities Development department is contemplating to start free coaching for minority community students appearing for competitive examinations.
Around 500 candidates would be given free coaching to appear in the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams, state Minister for Minorities Development Naseem Khan told reporters.
"The candidates would be selected on their merits," he added.
The step, first of its kind, taken by the state government to give coaching to the students from minority community, comes after Vice President Hamid Ansari recently at a Muslim Educational Conference lamented the low representation of the community in central and state public services, including police and armed forces.
Khan also said about 1,000 candidates would also be given coaching to appear for banking, engineering, medical, IIT and MBA exams.
"The coaching to the students will be given by state government`s director vocational training under Maulana Azad free coaching and allied scheme," he added.
The coaching centres will be started at seven places - Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Nashik and Amravati.
"In order to prevent drop-outs of the students having failed in SSC (10th) and HSC (12th) and to pursue them to take further education, 2,000 students will also be trained under the scheme," Khan said, adding that a sharp decline has been witnessed among Muslim community in taking higher education.
"The state government will have to shell out Rs 5.5 crore for the scheme," he said.