The Central Board of Secondary Education on Tuesday said it will continue to charge only Rs 50 from students of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government and government-aided schools in Delhi as examination fee, reported PTI. The Delhi government has agreed to pay the rest of the revised fee of Rs 1,200, said board secretary Anurag Tripathi.

Last week, the board had released a circular that 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.

Earlier, the board exam fee for SC and ST students only in Delhi “as a special arrangement” was Rs 350, out of which the Delhi government paid Rs 300. For general category students, it was Rs 750 earlier. In the latest circular, the board said: “From 2020 examinations, CBSE does not have any scheme as Delhi or All India.”

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 board had said.

CBSE officials said a deficit of over Rs 200 crore in conducting the examinations for Class 10 and Class 12 had forced the board to revise the fees. “The fee hikes are required for self-sustenance, and to maintain the quality in examination, evaluation and overcome a financial deficit of around Rs 200 crore,” Tripathi told PTI.

The board had earlier said 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. “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 CBSE examination controller Sanyam Bhardwaj as saying. “But that is now impossible. We faced losses of Rs 100 crore from last year’s school exams alone.”

Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development to complain about the “sharp hike in CBSE examination fee”, reported ANI. “Odisha government has opened CBSE affiliated schools in rural areas for economically & socially underprivileged sections,” the letter read. “This decision is bound to result in acute hardship for them.”