BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi has directed the SC and ST department to focus on filling of the ST quota in government medical colleges through a special drive in the coming year.
The department has also been advised to strengthen the existing infrastructure in hostels and ensure appropriate delivery of services in SC and ST hostels.
Taking a review meeting of the department activities, Padhi also directed to make an assessment of the outcomes of the interventions taken for safety and security of the students in hostels and residential schools.
Available data shows, at present the total ST and 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 five minority communities in the state.
The literacy rate among ST and SC population 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 the state average of 979. Similarly, the sex ration 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 the year 2009, around 72.29% of the students were successful in high school certificate examination among whom 9.68% of the students got 1st Division.
Over the years this percentage followed an increasing trend. In the year 2015, the percentage of pass out students in high school certificate examination reached 95.27% among whom 42.11% got 1st Division.
Around 46 students qualified for college and universities of national and international repute. The government is providing the entire study expense of these students through a popular programme ‘Anwesa’. Target has been fixed to cover 23,000 students under the programme in next five years.
The safety and security of the students in hostels and residential schools have been brought to focus and tightened measures have been taken. Detailed guidelines and SOPs have been issued, and those are being strictly enforced.
Recording of the movement of borders, procurement and storage of ration, engagement of matrons, safety measures, health check up, and sanitation provision in the schools have also been brought to focus.
A Comprehensive Monitoring System of schools and hostels has been put in place.
Chief Secretary has directed to adopt ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy in case of any negligence/ violation of the laid down procedures relating to safety and security of the students and boarders.
The issues relating to non-release of the scholarship grant from Government of India 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 also figured in the review.
The Programme Director OTELP Srikant Prusty, Director ST & SC Research Institute Akhil Bihari Ota, Managing Director Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation Ltd Susant Nanda along with senior officers of the department participated in the review.