August 9, 2018
New opportunities in jobs and education for scheduled tribes
The Trinamool Congress Government set up the Tribal Development Department for proper advancement of the tribal people of Bangla.
The department has introduced various educational facilities and job opportunities for students belonging to scheduled tribes (ST). The issuance of ST certificates has also increased hugely and the process has been streamlined.
Certificates for scheduled tribes
- The issuance of scheduled tribe certificates per year has almost tripled over the last seven years, from 31,000 during financial year (FY) 2010-11 to 87,875 during FY 2017-18.
- Through e-enabled services for the issuance of certificates to tribal people, a total of 5.79 lakh ST certificates were issued in the last seven years.
- With the implementation of the WB Right To Public Service Act 2013, procedural delays in the implementation of ST certificates have reduced considerably. The average processing time for the certificates is now just four weeks.
Educational loans and scholarships
- In a first-of-its-kind initiative in India, educational loans with low rates of interest are being extended to ST students aspiring for technical, professional and higher education – upto Rs 10 lakh for studying full-time courses within the country and upto Rs 20 lakh for studying courses abroad in recognised institutions or universities.
- Introduction of online processing and disbursement of scholarships through direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode into the bank account of students has immensely benefited ST students. During the last seven years, 5.63 lakh ST students were provided scholarships.
- The Sikshashree scholarship scheme was introduced during FY 2014-15 for ST students from classes V to VIII. Scholarship is paid directly into individual bank accounts through DBT mode. During 2014-15 to 2017-18, around 9.14 lakh ST students got benefits under this scheme.
Educational and job opportunities
- To increase accessibility and reduce dropouts, the department has introduced a scheme for providing bicycles to ST girl students of classes IX to XII in 23 Left Wing Extremist-affected (LWE) blocks. Subsequently, all tribal girl students in the State from classes IX to XII were brought under this scheme. From 2011-12 to 2014-15, which was before the launching of the Sabooj Sathi scheme, 95,000 bicycles were distributed. Under Sabooj Sathi scheme, as much as 70 lakh cycles are being distributed in total.
- Scholarships (both pre-matric and post-matric) have almost trebled, from 38,547 during FY 2010-11 to 1.11 lakh during FY 2017-18, increasing access to education.
- The department has introduced special coaching for Joint Entrance Examination examinees through 26 centres located in different districts. On an average, 700 ST students are being enrolled per year. The department is also providing first year engineering and medical books to the successful ST candidates.
- The department has enabled software-driven language learning courses (by McGraw Hill Education) in seven Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) to improve communication skill in English of the ST students.
- At present, 1,200 students of 7 EMRSs are learning chess and some of them have shown promise in the game.
- The department has enabled the introduction of special coaching for English, vernacular languages, mathematics, science subjects and computer education in all the 216 Ashram Hostels in the State. Ashram schools are residential schools which impart education up to the secondary level to children belonging to scheduled tribes (ST).
- During last seven years, 127 ST candidates were sent for special coaching for IAS and WBCS examinations. Of them 29 were successful in qualifying for different jobs.
- ST candidates numbering 24,500, both male and female, were provided skills training in different sectors during the last seven years. Of them, around 16,000 have got jobs or are self-employed.
- Low-income ST beneficiaries are provided opportunities for self-employment in various sectors, namely, agriculture, horticulture, protective cultivation, animal rearing, pisciculture, bee-keeping, and a few others. During the last seven years, around 1.26 lakh beneficiaries have benefitted.
- The department has initiated a special recruitment drive to fill up the backlog of vacancies in reserved categories in various State Government departments. During the first phase of the special recruitment drive (2014 to 2016), 943 people have been recruited in different categories while during the second phase (2016 till date), 1,736 vacancies are in the process of being filled up.
Thus, students belonging to scheduled caste categories have benefitted immensely under the Trinamool Congress Government. It is providing educational loans as well as arranging for employment opportunities for the students, ensuring a bright future.