Bhubaneswar, Aug 28
A staggering 86 per cent of girl students belonging to SC and ST communities studying in classes IX and X have opened bank accounts to avail cash benefit for their academic pursuits under the Odisha Girls’ Incentive Programme (OGIP).
In a bid to encourage more and more SC and ST girls to pursue secondary education by sharing their financial burden, the state government has rolled out the OGIP from April 1 this year. The DFID-funded OGIP is implemented by the SC and ST Development department for benefit of girl students of the disadvantaged communities.
Santosh Sarangi, secretary SC and ST Development department reviewed the progress of enrolment and steps taken to open bank accounts of the targeted beneficiaries at a review meeting held at the State Secretariat recently. Money is directly transferred under the scheme to the accounts of girls of classes-IX and X.
The latest report shows that 1, 73,576 girl students of class IX have opened accounts in banks to receive the cash incentive. Similarly, 1, 87,329 students of class X have opened accounts constituting 86 per cent of the students, departmental sources said.
Mayurbhanj tops the list with accounts of 19,349 students opened for girl students of class IX and 19, 489 of class X. The programme was first launched in Mayurbhanj district, which has the largest number of tribal beneficiaries.
So far, 3, 58,594 accounts have been opened by students in all the 30 districts with Mayurbhanj leading the tally with 38,847 accounts. Other districts including Sundargarh, Keonjhar and Kalahandi have also registered impressive numbers.
By mid August, the authorities have received 43,423 application forms from students of class IX and 55,669 forms from the students of class X. The highest number of forms (68 per cent of all eligible candidates) has been received from Kendrapara, while Nabarangpur and Balasore have fared poorly with 49 per cent and 47 per cent respetively.
Sources said DFID would provide fund to the tune of Rs 200 crore for this programme. Out of this, Rs 72 crore would go directly to the accounts of the students. Funds would also be allocated for a computerised education programme, facilitating account opening and direct cash transfer and opening of Girls’ Learning Clubs in educational institutions, said an official.
The girl students would avail of Rs 950 per annum in addition to the existing annual pre-matric scholarship of Rs 2,250. Each beneficiary has a total Rs 3,200 deposited in her account. The scheme, however, is applicable for day scholars only.