The Maharashtra government has announced that it will not conduct final year degree exams under various universities in the state in the backdrop of rising coronavirus cases.
The higher and technical education department announced that the final year exams for non-professional and professional courses across all the 14 universities will now be optional.
Those who don't want to take the exams will be marked on the basis of average grades from the previous semester, but those who wish to sit for the exams will be allowed to do so.
In both the cases, students will have to give a written consent to the concerned university.
"If you wish to change the grades or feel the marks are not up to your expectations and you want to take the exams, then the district collector looking at the COVID-19 situation can give the exam," said Uday Samant, minister, Higher and Technical education, Maharashtra
The decision will impact over 10 lakh students in the state.
In Maharashtra, around 7.3 lakh students are enrolled in the final year of non-professional courses while around 2.8 lakh students are enrolled for the professional courses such as engineering, hotel management, architecture, law, etc.
The exams were earlier slated for July. However, the spiralling cases of the highly contagious disease forced the government to scrap the exams to avoid any further spread.
Currently, 41 colleges and 198 hostels are used as quarantine centres across Maharashtra - the worst hit state by the coronavirus in the country, according to the government resolution (GR).
For professional courses, the government will be writing to the central councils to grant permission to cancel the exams. For students with backlogs, the decision will be taken in the coming days after meeting with the vice chancellors.
The opposition BJP has called the decision a flawed one.
"From ATKT students to rank holders, this decision is nothing but a deceit and an eyewash. We demand that the government should take a decision that is acceptable and is equal across the spectrum," said BJP leader Ashish Shelar.
The government has said the decision was taken keeping in mind the health of the students. However, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who is also the chancellor of all the state universities, wanted the decision to be based on the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, once again bringing out the tussle between the state government and the governor in open.