Maharashtra State Agriculture Minister Dadasaheb Bhuse on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into the pass certificates prepared to be issued to first and second year B.Sc agriculture students by a private agriculture college in Amravati, which included a 'COVID-19 Promoted' stamp. Mr Bhuse, in a letter addressed to the director-general of Maharashtra Council of Agriculture Education and Research and vice-chancellors of agriculture universities said, "There were no directives from the state government to certify 'COVID-19 promoted' on the certificates issued to students. Who has taken the initiative and why?" He informed them that a report on the matter has to be submitted within a week and told the administration to "rectify their blunder". 

The development came to light on Monday after the private college reportedly readied the pass certificates with the 'COVID-19 promoted' to be distributed after July 15 to 242 of its students. However, controversy erupted after the BJP called the state government for being "insensitive" towards the students. BJP leader and former state education minister, Ashish Shelar, took to his Twitter page to say, "It has come to the fore that the marksheets of agriculture universities have ‘promoted Covid-19’ stamps. This is wrong and unjust to students."

Students have stated that the 'COVID-19 promoted' tag would only bring a negative effect on their careers and make them less employable in the eyes of the recruiters. Exams for only final-year B.Sc agriculture students were conducted this year at the four state agriculture universities - Bala Sawant Konkan Agriculture University at Dhapoli, Mahatma Phule Agriculture University at Rahuri, Marathwada Agriculture University at Parbhani, and Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Agriculture University at Akola. Promotion orders for first and second year students of agricultural universities without any examination were given in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the meantime, Founder President of Agriculture Graduate’s Association, Mahesh Kaduspatil, issued a statement saying, "Since the start, we had been demanding evaluation and promotion of students without the tag of passed due to Covid-19… This move is the doing of someone at the university level. Maharashtra Council of Agriculture Education and Research has assured us that no such directives have been given."