Reported by Chinmaya Dehury / Edited by Manoj Mishra
Bhubaneswar, July 27 :
The state government has decided to upgrade 38 high schools under SC and ST department to higher secondary level to provide more opportunities to the tribal students to avail higher education. 2226 posts of trained graduate teachers (TGTs) and 2000 certified teachers (CTs) have also been sanctioned for these schools to ensure ‘quality education’.
Addressing the Tribes Advisory Council meeting here today, Chief minister Naveen Patnaik claimed the government is committed to secure more enrolment and reduce dropout rate of Scheduled Tribe students and that explains why over 3000 hostels had already been completed and made functional while 1000 more hostels are under construction.
In addition, the government has decided to open 10 new Ekalavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) to facilitate quality education for the tribal and SC children for which Rs 150 crore has been earmarked for infrastructure development.
Stating that the government has also decided to open urban hostel complexes for SC and ST students, Patnaik said while construction of these complexes are completed in Berhampur and Rourkela, another complex is underway in Bhubaneswar.
The chief minister also said that the government has initiated Odisha Girls’ Incentive Programme in collaboration with the Centre and the Department for International Development (DFID) to encourage all SC and ST girls to complete their secondary education.
All SC and ST day scholar girls studying in class IX and X are entitled to an annual stipend of Rs 3200, he said, adding that all the boarders are being provided with rice at Rs 1 a kg.
Patnaik then went on to read out a whole list of ‘pro-tribal’ steps that his government had taken over the years.
Claiming that Odisha continues to be number one state in the country in terms of distribution of rights and titles over forest land to the traditional forest dwellers under Forest Rights Act, 2006, Patnaik said more than 3,35,000 individual and 2983 community claims have been settled by June this year and that these right holders are being included under various schemes like Indira Awas Yojana, Mo Kudia, Mo Pokhari, MNREGA, National Horticulture Mission (NHM) etc.
This apart, the state government has undertaken a programme to provide homestead land to landless ST families while steps are being taken to provide land to all landless tribals of more than 19,000 villages in the tribal sub plan (TSP) blocks by 2016-17, he said.
Referring to the employment of the ST youths, the chief minister said a special drive has been taken to upgrade their skill for placement.
For improvement in the livelihoods of the tribals, he said the Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme (OTELP) that is operational since 2004 has been upscaled at OTELP Plus covering an additional 1500 villages.
Besides, a livelihood proposal of the state government for the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups has been approved by the Centre, Patnaik said, adding the state is likely to get a Central grant of Rs 250 crore for various livelihood interventions.