Centre launches splecial scheme for naxal-hit districts in eight states

October 8th, 2008 - 10:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Oct.8 (ANI): The Centre has launched a special scheme for hardest-hit naxal-affected districts of eight states to construct hostels to promote education among tribals and contain dropout rates.
The scheme initiated by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs offers 100 percent financial assistance to the naxal-affected States/Union Territories from the Centre for the purpose of benefiting students belonging to Scheduled Tribes (STs) and also primitive tribal groups, sources in the ministry said.
The scheme has so far been made available to a total of 33 districts listed as “naxal-affected” by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, they said.
“The ministry has launched the scheme to supplement the efforts of state governments for the promotion of education and contain dropout rates among tribals living in the highly naxal-affected districts in these eight states of the country,” they added.
“While illiteracy is a general problem for the country cutting across caste, religion, region and such other barriers, its total effect on the life and status of the ST, especially those living in naxal-affected areas stand out prominently as an area of national focus,” a senior official of the ministry said.
Under the scheme, the hostels can be constructed for middle, secondary, college and university level of education and also Vocational Training Centres.
“The central assistance will, however, be limited only to the cost of construction or extension of the hostels and unencumbered land is supposed to be made available free of cost by the concerned state government/Union territories,” he said.
The hostels under the scheme have to be constructed at a place where educational institutions are situated, keeping in view the concentration of ST population.
The hostels for the Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) can be constructed only in those tribal areas where state governments/UT administrations concerned take the initiative to run these centres efficiently, the official added.
The Union Home Ministry has convened a high-level meeting next week for implementation of first phase of the Rs 500 crore special scheme which aims to enhance infrastructure for security forces in Naxal-affected states.
The October 14 meeting, which will be attended by DGPs and Home Commissioners of eight worst Naxal-hit states besides Home Ministry officials, will chalk out strategies to implement the scheme that aims at increasing security personnel’’s mobility, securing camping grounds and helipads at strategic locations.
“For the current fiscal, Rs 100 crore has been earmarked, while Rs 400 crore would be spent in the remaining period of the 11th Plan,” a senior Home Ministry official said.
The new scheme will adequately provide for crucial infrastructure requirement that are critical to policing and security needs in the field but are not adequately included in any existing scheme.
Construction of roads along railway tracks to enable the forces to ensure safe movement of trains, improvement of connectivity with high-risk police stations and construction of boundary walls around police posts are some of the other focus areas of the ambitions scheme.
“Initially the scheme will be implemented in 14 districts of eight states. Though, we have received proposals for eight districts only, we have decided to go ahead with it,” the official said.
The scheme was approved at the 11th September meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Over 70 districts in the country are affected by Left-wing extremism, which has been described by the Prime Minister as a “virus” and the biggest internal security threat.
In the continuing Naxal violence in around a dozen states, over 400 people, including over 150 securitymen, have been killed so far this year.
The government recently approved formation of a 10,000-strong special anti-naxal force ”COBRA” — Combat Battalion for Resolute Action — to tackle the menace. (ANI with inputs)

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