The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to reduce the weight of school bags drastically and its new policy exempts students from 1.30 lakh schools in the state from carrying bags once a week, as per an official circular.

Under its School Policy 2020 along the lines of the National Education Policy, the Madhya Pradesh School Education department has come out with a lightweight school bag policy.

The specified weights of school bags for different classes will be displayed on notice boards in schools. The new rule should be followed with immediate effect, it said.

As per the circular, a day in a week will be "bag-less" for students and dedicated to co-curriculum activities.

A government official said Madhya Pradesh has 1.30 lakh schools with a collective strength of 154 lakhs students.

The circular, issued by MP School Education Department deputy secretary Pramod Singh on August 29, directs all the district education officers to randomly visit schools in the next three months for inspection and ensure that school bags weigh according to the new norms.

The new guidelines direct schools to teach subjects such as computer, moral science, general knowledge, sports, physical education, health, and arts without books.

No books other than those prescribed by the state government and the NCERT should be carried in school bags.

With the new policy, students of classes 1 and 2 will have to carry school bags weighing 1.6 kg to 2.2 kg while classes 3, 4 and 5 from 1.7 kg to 2.5 kg. Students of classes 6 and 7 will have to carry school bags weighing 2 to 3 kg, class 8 from 2.5 kg to 4 kg, and classes 9 and 10 from 2.5 kg to 4.5 kg.

Schools should determine the weight of bags according to different streams for classes 11 and 12, it stated.