Bhubaneswar: Chief Secretary AP Padhi on Thursday directed the ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare department to focus on filling of the ST quota in government medical colleges through a special drive from next year.
Presiding over a review meeting of the department, he asked the concerned officials to strengthen the existing infrastructure in hostels and ensure appropriate delivery of services in ST and SC hostels and make assessment of the outcomes of the interventions taken for safety security of the students in hostels and residential schools.
Available data shows, at present the total ST & SC population of the state is around 39.98% among whom 22.85% are STs and 17.13% are SCs. The minority population of the state is around 5.05% of the total population.
There are 62 identified ST communities, 93 identified SC communities and 5 minority communities in the state.
The literacy rate among ST & SCs has increased by around 15 and 14% respectively in 2011 census in comparison to 2001 census. The present literacy rate among the STs is around 52.24% and SCs is around 69%.
The sex ratio in ST community has grown to 1029 against State average of 979. Similarly, the sex ratio in SC and minority community is around 987 and 998 respectively.
The academic performance of the students of these communities at high school level has also increased significantly over last seven years. In 2009, around 72.29% of the students had cleared High School Certificate (HSC) examination of which 9.68% secured first division. In 2015, the percentage of pass students in HSC examination was 95.27% of which 42.11% had secured first division. Around 46 students qualified for college and universities of national and international repute. The entire study expense of these students is being provided by the state government through a popular programme Anwesa. A target has been fixed to cover 23,000 students under the programme in the next five years.
The state government has given priority to the safety and security of the students in hostels and residential schools. Detailed guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been issued and those are being strictly enforced. Besides, emphasis has been given on recording of the movement of boarders, procurement and storage of ration, engagement of matrons, safety measures, health check up and sanitation provision in the schools. A comprehensive monitoring system of schools and hostels has been put in place.
The chief secretary directed the department to adopt ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy in case of any negligence or violation of the laid down procedures relating to safety and security of the students and boarders.
Issues relating to non-release of scholarship grant from the Centre for last three years, implementation of various social, educational, economic development and legal empowerment programmes of the department along with the implementation of Forest Right Act (FRA) also figured in the meeting.