Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government has decided to provide one-time financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to needy ST/SC students from underprivileged backgrounds pursuing general degree courses in any government institution in the state from this year.
This was informed by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while addressing the meeting of Tribes Advisory Council here on Tuesday.
“My government has been taking sustained interventions to improve the socio-economic conditions and realize the educational needs of our tribal communities. Education, livelihood and protection of their rights have been our focus area,” he said.
Patnaik said his government has set up Special Development Councils (SDCs) for promotion, protection and preservation of the tribal culture and traditions, heritage, and identity by involving tribal people.
This year, the programme has been expanded to 172 blocks of 23 districts, covering more than 84 lakh tribal people, he pointed out.
Stating that education is key to socio-economic upliftment, the Chief Minister said Odisha is one of the leading states in providing residential facilities to tribal students. Hostel facilities are available to more than 6 lakh students from 4.2 lakh households in 1735 schools functioning under the SC, ST Development department.
In the last 20 years, the number of high schools under the department has almost doubled, increased from 215 to 422.
Similarly, 62 higher secondary schools have been opened, he stated.
Odisha is considered as a pioneering state in the implementation of Forest Rights Act.
The state has launched a new scheme ‘Mo Jungle Jami Yojana’ to ensure right to hold and live in forest land to all eligible ST forest dwellers. It would ensure recognition of community rights over forest land, he added.
Further, the CM said his government has introduced its own funded scheme—Mukhya Mantri Jeevika Mission, which is one of the largest exclusive tribal livelihood promotion initiatives.
With a budget allocation of Rs 500 crore, the scheme will provide support to 1.5 lakh tribal households in 121 tribal sub-plan (TSP) blocks of the state over a three-year period from 2022-23 to 2025-26.
The state has submitted a proposal to the union government for expansion of the Odisha PVTG Empowerment & Livelihoods Improvement Programme for implementation in newly notified 1,138 PVTG villages for a period of 7 years from 2024-25 onwards, he informed.