The local government has ordered private and state-funded schools to restrict children's load to three kilograms (one-and-a-half pounds) up to class 10 (age 13). Schools which do not follow the directive would face prosecution.
The new rule is expected to be gradually extended to other parts of Maharashira. The decision has been greeted by parents who had complained that children were expected to carry unnecessary weight.
A committee set up by the state government two years ago sent questionnaires to 100,000 students and parents from 10 districts. It found that most students were carrying bags weighing more than 10 kilograms.
The committee recommended that most of the teaching material should be kept in school, with children only taking home the books they need for homework.