Konark: Secretary ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare, Roopa Roshan Sahoo said that Odisha’s Tribal empowerment has been anchored around the principle of Inclusive Growth. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik vision is “to make all benefits, schemes and opportunities reach to all SC, ST, OBC and Minority Households and ensure Inclusive Growth is accessible, accountable and aspirational.”
Speaking in the Senior Officers’ Conference held here on 15 February she said that the Inclusivity is not only about imagining growth channels for all 62 tribes including 13 PVTG but also ensuring that any development effort is sensitive to the preservation of culture and identity.
The senior officers conference captured the best practices in the three districts of Nabarangpur, Gajapati and Rayagada on the themes of Education, Livelihood and Culture respectively.
The ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare department currently operates 1735 dedicated SSD schools with more than 4 lakh students and provides Hostel facilities to more than 5 lakh students.
Recently, 500 plus smart classrooms were established in 422 High Schools in a focused effort to improve the quality of education in the schools. The State provides Rs 550 crores worth pre-matric scholarships to 5 lakh boarder students and Rs 275 crores of post matric scholarships to more than 4 lakh students.
The ANWESHA program is designed to provide English Medium Education to ST&SC students in CBSE & ICSE syllabus by admitting them in different English Medium Public Schools in urban areas or areas adjacent to urban local bodies.
Currently 21000 students are benefitting from this program. Further 8 AKANKHYA hostels has been established in 4 districts Khordha, Ganjam, Sundargarh & Sambalpur for providing free lodging to ST&SC students perusing post-matric education at Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Rourkela & Sambalpur. Livelihood promotion was recognised as one of the important components of tribal development since 2005 and the State has undertaken multiple steps in this regard.
Programs like Mission Jeevika for Livelihood Cluster Promotion benefits more than 2.4 lakh beneficiaries. The Van Dhan Vikash Karyakram has 48,673 beneficiaries across 18 districts.
OPELIP is designed to enhance livelihoods and food and nutrition security primarily for the PVTG households and is currently benefitting close to 39,000 PVTG farmers.
For promotion of Indigenous Culture and preservation of Tribal Identity 9 Special Development Council have been reconstituted and it operates the State Tribal Museum and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Research Training Institute. It hosts the Annual Adivasi Mela, Sargifula and various National level Crafts and Dance Mela.
She said that the department is committed to the preservation of the Indigenous culture and at the same time create and provide opportunities that will improve educational and livelihood returns for them.