Bhubaneswar: Every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Eklavya Model Residential School (EMRS) by the year 2022. Addressing media persons here today, the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram said that consequent upon Budget announcement for 2018-19, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, in its meeting held on 17th December, 2018, has decided that by the year 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Eklavya Model Residential School. Eklavya schools will be on par with Navodaya Vidyalayas and will have special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development. Across the country, as per census 2011 figures, there are 564 sub-districts i.e. blocks/taluka/tehsil having more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons. Out of these sub-districts, at present 102 sub-districts have EMRSs.
The Minister said that the proposed scale up of the initiative through enhanced recurring and non-recurring cost is a path breaking initiative. This will immensely help in reducing gaps in literacy between ST population vis-à-vis overall population. The focus is on academic excellence through this upscaled initiative and will lead to holistic development of tribal children.
Ministry of Tribal Affairs (M/oTA) was set up in 1999, with the objective of providing more focused approach on the integrated socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the most underprivileged of the Indian Society, in a coordinated and planned manner. M/oTA is the nodal Ministry for overall policy, planning and coordination of programmes for development of STs. One of the important educational intervention by Ministry of Tribal Affairs is establishing Eklavya Model Residential Schools with the objective of enhancing access to quality education and to maximize retention of ST students within various stages of school education and promoting higher learning among them. EMRS is an excellent approach for imparting quality education to ST children. Apart from school building including hostels and staff quarters, provision for a playground, students’ computer lab, teacher resource room etc. are also included in the EMRSs. A total of 284 EMRSs have been sanctioned as on date, out of which 219 have been reported functional, with about 65,231 students enrolled therein. The existing non-recurring cost is Rs.12.00 Crores (16.00 Crores for North East, hilly, deserts and islands). The recurring cost is Rs.61500/- from 2018-19.
The important features of the decision are:-
1. Setting up of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) in 462 blocks having more than 50% ST population with minimum 20,000 ST population by the year 2022 including 12 Eklavya Model Day Boarding School (EMDBS). It may be also being mentioned that EMDBS will be established wherever density of ST population is higher in identified Sub-Districts/Blocks (90% or more). This will be a boost for providing additional scope for ST Students seeking to avail school education without residential facility.
2. Financial provisions for 145 EMRSs and 5 EMDBSs during 2018-19 and 2019-20.
3. Setting up of an Autonomous Society under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs similar to Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti to run the EMRSs. (The Society to function through an Executive Committee (EC) under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Tribal Affairs. The EC shall be responsible for the management of all affairs including allocation of funds for setting up and functioning of EMRSs. The composition of the Steering Committee will be decided with the approval of the Minister, Tribal Affairs.
4. Enhancing the construction cost of EMRS (with 480 students capacity) to Rs. 20.00 Crore.
5. Cost of construction of EMRSs for North East, hilly areas, difficult areas and areas affected by Left Wing Extremism at 20% more than the normal cost.
6. Enhancing the recurring cost from the existing Rs. 61,500/- to Rs. 1,09,000/- per student per year from 2019-20 and recurring cost for EMDBS to Rs. 85,000/- per student per year from 2019-20.
7. Upgradation of already sanctioned EMRSs on need basis with unit cost subject to a maximum of Rs. 5 crores per school.
8. Setting up Centre of Excellence for sports at select locations with all related infrastructure (buildings, equipment’s etc.). This Centre of Excellence will have specialized state-of-the-art facilities for two identified sports (including one group sport and one individual sport) which will be common for a State.
9. Enhancing the grants for maintenance, which are admissible every five years, from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs.20 Lakhs.
10. Utilization of up to 10% seats by non-ST students. Priority shall be given to children of EMRSs staff, children who have lost their parents to Left wing extremism and insurgencies, children of widows etc.
11. Reservation of 20% seats under sports quota for deserving ST students who have excelled in the field of sports.
12. Rolling out the proposed scheme with a financial cost of Rs. 2238.47 Crores during 2018-19 and 2019-20.
13. The proposed scale up of the initiative through enhanced recurring and non-recurring cost is a path breaking initiative. This will immensely help in reducing gaps in literacy between ST population vis-à-vis overall population. The focus is on academic excellence through this upscaled initiative and will lead to holistic development of tribal children.