Odisha Govt to Provide Financial Aid for Underprivileged ST/SC Students Pursuing Degree Courses

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has announced a new initiative to support ST/SC students from underprivileged backgrounds pursuing general degree courses in government institutions. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik shared this news during a meeting of the Tribes Advisory Council. The government aims to provide one-time financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to eligible students, emphasizing the importance of education and the socio-economic upliftment of tribal communities.

To address the needs of tribal communities, the Odisha government has established Special Development Councils (SDCs) aimed at promoting, protecting, and preserving tribal culture, traditions, heritage, and identity. This year, the program has been expanded to 172 blocks across 23 districts, benefiting over 84 lakh tribal individuals.

Education plays a vital role in empowering communities, and Odisha is actively working towards this goal. The state has been successful in providing residential facilities to tribal students, with hostel accommodations available to over 6 lakh students from 4.2 lakh households in 1735 schools under the SC/ST Development department. Over the past two decades, the number of high schools in the department has nearly doubled from 215 to 422, and 62 higher secondary schools have been established.

Odisha is recognized as a pioneering state in implementing the Forest Rights Act. To further protect the rights of ST forest dwellers, the state has introduced the ‘Mo Jungle Jami Yojana’ scheme, ensuring their right to hold and live in forest land. This initiative aims to secure community rights over forest land.

The government of Odisha has also launched the ‘Mukhya Mantri Jeevika Mission,’ a substantial tribal livelihood promotion scheme. With a budget allocation of Rs 500 crore, the scheme will provide support to 1.5 lakh tribal households across 121 tribal sub-plan (TSP) blocks from 2022-23 to 2025-26.

Moreover, Odisha has submitted a proposal to the central government to expand the Odisha PVTG Empowerment & Livelihoods Improvement Programme. The proposal aims to implement the program in 1,138 newly notified PVTG (Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group) villages for a period of 7 years starting from 2024-25.

These efforts by the Odisha government demonstrate its commitment to improving the socio-economic conditions, educational opportunities, and rights protection of tribal communities in the state.

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