The Central Board of Secondary Education on Sunday said the increase in examination fees for Class 10 and Class 12 students for the 2020 examinations had been misrepresented by the media.

Last week, the board had released its circular for school principals, asking them to submit lists of candidates for the examinations of 2020. The circular said candidates from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Delhi government schools would pay Rs 1,200 for five subjects, while all others in India would have to pay Rs 1,500 for five subjects. Both amounts were higher than previous years.

On Sunday, PTI news agency reported that the increase in fees for the reserved category students was 24 times, as they had to pay only Rs 50 earlier, while for general category students, it was two times, from Rs 750 earlier.

In a clarification late on Sunday, the CBSE said the fee earlier was Rs 350 for SC and ST students only in Delhi “as a special arrangement”, out of which the Delhi government paid Rs 300.

CBSE examination controller Sanyam Bhardwaj told ANI: “Now Delhi government may reimburse the fees paid by SC/ST students or pay it for them. Method of payment will be an internal matter between Delhi government and students.”

According to last year’s circular, all Class 10 and Class 12 students outside Delhi were asked to pay Rs 750 for five subjects. But as part of the “Delhi scheme” applicable for government and government-aided schools of Delhi, general category students had to pay Rs 375 in Class 10 and Rs 600 in Class 12, while SC and ST students had to pay only Rs 50 as the Delhi government would pay the rest.

In this year’s circular, the board said: “From 2020 examinations, CBSE does not have any scheme as Delhi or All India.”

This means that for all students outside Delhi and general category students in Delhi, the fee has been raised to Rs 1,500. For the SC and ST students in Delhi, the fee will effectively rise from Rs 50 to Rs 1,200 if the Delhi government does not pay part of it.

The board said it had increased the fees for the whole of India and this was after a gap of five years. “The fee has been raised for all categories of students in all affiliated schools of CBSE in India and abroad by a resolution of the governing body of the board,” the statement read.

It added that the Centre’s decision to shift competitive examinations such as the all-India entrance tests for medical and engineering courses away from CBSE to the National Testing Agency also led to loss of major source of their revenue, The Hindu reported.

“Earlier, we used to conduct competitive examinations such as NEET and JEE-Main, as well as the NET exam, and save money from that which could then be siphoned to subsidise the school examinations,” The Hindu quoted Bhardwaj as saying. “But that is now impossible. We faced losses of ₹100 crore from last year’s school exams alone.”