New Delhi: Students from Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) at Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools will have to pay 1,200 as their board exam fee, a 24-time hike, from the current academic year.

As per the new rules by the CBSE, while SC, ST candidates exam fee has gone up by 24 times, it has doubled for general category students to 1,500 and shall be same for both Class 10 and Class 12 board exams.

Earlier, SC and ST students used to pay a paltry 50 for the same for five subjects whereas general category used to pay 750. For appearing in exam for an additional subject, all students will have to pay an additional 300. Earlier, it was nil for SC, ST candidates and 150 for others.

Over a million students appear for each of the CBSE Class 10 and Class 12 board exams every year. Completely visually impaired students are exempt from paying any fee.

CBSE feels that since exam costs are going up both in term of logistics and technology deployment and to smoothen the exam process, a hike in exam fee was due. Other than technology-based monitoring, CBSE has also started giving online certificates as part of the National Academic Depository scheme.