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April 5, 2014

1000 days at a glance: Backward classes welfare and Tribal development

1000 days at a glance: Backward classes welfare and Tribal development

The Government of West Bengal is committed towards the welfare of all sections of society, irrespective of their castes. Under the present regime, backward classes have seen a surge of development. A separate ministry has been formed for the welfare of Tribals. In the last two-and-a-half years, the facility of scholarships has been extended to almost 84 lakh students belonging to scheduled castes and tribes and other backward classes. 9.44 lakh caste certificates were given out in calendar year 2013, against 8.11 lakh in 2009 and 2010 combined.

Here are some of the achievements in the area of backward classes welfare and Tribal development:

Department of Tribal Development: The present government has created the Department of Tribal Development to uplift the overall standard of living of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The first meeting of the newly constituted Tribes Advisory Council, formed by representatives of various tribes, has already taken place.

Tribal Development in the Terai region: Hindi as a language will be included in the graduate and post-graduate curriculum of North Bengal University. keeping the demands of tribal students in mind. Banarhat College (Hindi medium) will start functioning from August 2014. Hindi medium schools will start in Banarhat, Matiali and Kalchini. The government is supplying rice to the workers of closed tea gardens at Rs 2 per kg.

Special reservation: A historic decision towards 17% reservation for OBC students in government-aided higher education centres has been made during the tenure of the present government. It will be introduced in academic year 2014-15. The step has been taken without reducing the number of seats earmarked for general students.

The government of India has recently enlisted 37 new groups as Bengal, as a result of relentless endeavour and a long-standing demand of the government of West Bengal. Of these, 35 are from minority communities. As a consequence, scopes for the education and the employment of backward classes will be widened.

Tribal Development in the hills: The State Government has taken positive steps for the development of various ethnic people on the hills. The Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board was formed in 2012 for the socio-economic and cultural development of the Lepcha community, besides the implementation of the GTA Agreement. The Lepcha Development Board was registered as a separate society on August 5, 2013.

Rs. 1 crore has already been sanctioned to the Board for the growth of education and culture under the plan-head. One thousand women have been identified as beneficiaries of houses to be built under the Rangee scheme. Rs 50 crore has been granted for this project, out of which Rs 20 crore has already been sanctioned to the Development Board under the plan-head.

Formation of Tamang Development Board: The state government has recently constituted the Tamang Development Board for the overall growth of Tamang and other communities and to preserve Tamang culture and traditions. This Board will also look into matters related to the development of other communities.

Inclusion of 11 groups in the list of scheduled tribes: The union government has been requested by the state to induct 11 groups, including the 10 ethnic groups of Darjeeling – Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Yogi, Khas, Rai, Sunuar, Thammi and Iksa (Dewan) – and Dhimal, in the list of scheduled tribes.

Other welfare projects:

  • Giving bicycles to girl students reading in classes IX to XII in order to encourage them to continue with their studies
  • Scope for applying online for caste certificates and different scholarships for students
  • Scope for construction of houses under the Geetanjali project
  • Arrangements for the availability of individual/collective land deeds under the Forest Rights Act
  • Loans and grants according to the terms and conditions of the concerned financial enterprise (Aranya Shakti Prokalpa)
  • Many people pluck kendu leaves from jungles and sell them. Keeping this in consideration, the price of kendu leaves has been enhanced from Rs 48 per chatta to Rs 75 per chatta.
  • Special training in subjects, including spoken English, computer education, etc. under the monitoring of internationally famous institutions for employment in private sectors.
  • Education loans under easy terms and conditions for professional and technical higher education.