Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 14:
To ensure livelihood support to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), the Odisha government has decided to launch a special scheme titled ‘Odisha PVTG Empowerment & Livelihood Improvement Programme (OPELIP) very soon in the state with an investment of Rs 795 crore.
The scheme would benefit around 62,000 PVTG households.
The decision was taken at the Tribes Advisory Council meeting presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat here today.
The meeting noted that due to continued efforts of the state government to provide economic empowerment, enhanced livelihood opportunities, education and skill development for the tribal population of the state, the literacy rate during the last decade among tribal communities has increased from 37% to 52%, while the performance of students in examinations has been very encouraging.
The percentage of students securing first division in Matriculation exams in residential schools of ST SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Department has increased almost threefold from 14% to 42% during the last five years while the percentage of students securing third division has decreased substantially from 47% to 7%.
The Chief Minister said the state government will continue to ensure that every tribal child gets the best possible education to prepare them to face the challenges of life and be successful. He also informed that more than 2200 new hostels have been constructed out of the state’s own resources and 1100 more are expected to be completed by end of 2015-16.
Besides, the state government, out of its own budgetary resources, has been providing over Rs 600 crore towards pre-Matric and post-Matric scholarships to almost 20 lakh students, he added.
With a view to providing adequate educational opportunities to ST&SC students, the state government has decided to enhance the percentage of reservation from existing 12% to 22.50% and 8% to 16.25% for ST and SC students respectively in government and aided higher educational institutions, he pointed out.
The meeting recommended submission of the proposal for inclusion of Putiya, Bhuiyar and Bhuinhar communities in the ST list of Odisha to the Centre. It also recommended rationalization of scheduled areas of Odisha based on the reorganized districts.
Among other things, proposals for granting permission for exchange of government land for infrastructure development projects, purchasing tribal land for infrastructure projects, mortgaging tribal land to obtain bank loan and selling of mortgaged tribal land in case of default were discussed at the meeting.
The meeting recommended these issues to be examined by an inter-ministerial committee.