New Delhi: It has been made mandatory to sing the national anthem in all colleges in Maharashtra from February 19 onwards, state higher education minister Uday Samant announced on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference, he said, “We had taken a decision about the national anthem a few days ago. As per the decision, proceedings in colleges in the state should start with the national anthem.”

A notification will be issued to the colleges, Samant said, to take all necessary steps and begin their work on the national anthem from February 19, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Considering even 50 per cent of the students attend colleges, at least 15 lakh students would be singing the national anthem before starting their lectures, Samant added.

The development comes a month after the Shiv Sena government in January made it compulsory for school students to read out the preamble to the Constitution in their morning assemblies.

Meanwhile, the state government has also cleared a proposal for the mandatory teaching of Marathi language in all schools irrespective of the medium of instruction. The decision will be enacted in the next assembly session.

Apart from this, the minister also announced that the government is working on a college-level mechanism to tackle the issue of the security and harassment of girl students.

“A committee comprising various stake-holders such as public representatives, police, NGOs, college and varsity officials will be set up to create such a mechanism to review and address the security issues of female students on the campus and make the campus ragging free,” he said.