Shillong (Meghalaya) , Nov 18 :Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram announced Rs 720 crore for setting up of Ekalavya model residential schools in 36 blocks of Meghalaya.
“Every block with more than 50 per cent ST population and at least 20,000 tribal people, will have an Ekalavya model residential school by 2022,” he said at the inauguration of Rev Fr D.J. Wollaston Annexe building of St Anthony’s College, in Meghalaya capital Shillong.
Oram said construction of two such schools is currently undergoing in two different places in Meghalaya, at Samanda in East Garo Hills district and Nongpoh in Ri-Bhoi district.
Inaugurating the newly constructed building in the college campus, which has digital learning centre, Oram congratulated the College for providing exceptional education service for the students of Meghalaya in particular and for the Northeast.
Oram termed Meghalaya as a new economic power and stated that education system of the state has been very instrumental for its steady growth. “The educational institutes including St. Anthony’s continue to provide quality education not only for the present generation but also for the posterity,” he added.
He also informed on the role of Ministry of Tribal Affairs for the development of North East India, especially Meghalaya. “My ministry has released Rs.127 crores under Article 275(1) of the Constitution to carry out various works as proposed by the Govt. of Meghalaya. This year onwards, I have earmarked an amount to the tune of Rs.25 crore for extending coverage of Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub Scheme ( SCA to TSS) of the state of Meghalaya, which will definitely boost the developmental works of the state,” said Oram.
He request Chief Minister to ensure that all the funds released by Govt. of India are being judiciously utilized for creation of durable community assets through a transparent process. “Right now for Meghalaya, my ministry has sanctioned 2 Eklavya Residential Model Schools (EMRS), which are under construction. As per the budget announcement of this year, Govt. of India is in the process of constructing Eklavya Model Schools in the Sub-divisions/blocks which have tribal population either 50% or 20,000 STs residing in that area,” he informed.
He told that as per this criterion 462 new EMRS will be established in different parts of the country in the course of next 5 years. Out of which 36 new EMRS have been proposed for the state of Meghalaya, which will be getting the approval of the Union Cabinet very soon.
“It is a matter of pride for a small state like Meghalaya. These new EMRS will be set up to provide quality education to the tribal kids in the residential set up, which will be at par with any other Indian state. This will definitely help in development of Human Resources of the state,” he added.
He also urged Chief Minister to give priority for the development of horticulture, medical plants and other allied activities in Meghalaya, which will provide sustainable livelihood for the tribal people and make them self reliant.
“We must try to give up shifting and jhum cultivation , thereby striving for modern cultivation practices, thereby making agriculture more commercialized and viable. Our Govt. is laying big emphasis on the growth of MSME sector. That is why, the State Govt. should reap the benefits of these programmes to produce budding entrepreneurs and promote them, so as to create employment generation and spur economic growth,” he said.
Highlighting on the immense contribution of St. Anthony’s College and for taking up challenges to better the facilities year after year, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said, “It is never easy when you do not know where your resources will come from. But St. Anthony’s college took up the project with a vision and ensured its success. I put my word of appreciation to the college authorities for making the project a great success.”
Talking on the role of Salesians, he said quoting his late father PA Sangma’s core thrust on education that education is the agent of change. “P.A Sangma instilled the idea and the goal that if we have to take Meghalaya forward and change the future of the state and its children it has to be through education.”
He said that there is an urgent need to properly polish the human resources of the State with skill and knowledge. “Unless and until we have a proper policy to harness and groom our talents we will not be able to take maximum advantage of the infrastructure we create,” he added.
He urged the researchers and academia to provide constructive suggestion for framing policies to better the infrastructure and opportunities for the youth. “Government and academia should collaborate in the initiative to promote entrepreneurship and business development in the state,” he said.