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With the agenda to help the disadvantaged groups earn a decent livelihood through education and transform their lives, Government of India launched many schemes and programs. This is also enshrined in the Constitution as Article 46 of Part IV (“Directive Principles of State Policy”) enjoins upon the State to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, in particular, of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. Article 38(2) of the same part also enjoins upon the State to minimize inequities in income and to endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.

In the Working Group Report on ‘Elementary Education and Literacy’ for 12th Five Year plan (2012-2017), it was decided to ‘formulate operational strategies and action plans for substantial improvement in educational status of girls and SC, ST, Muslim minority children, and children with special needs, etc. including convergence with other relevant schemes.’

To achieve this aim, it was decided to examine the feasibility of introducing alternative systems including conditional cash transfer for imparting quality education to the SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities and girls’. 
To combat under age employment and bring the out of school children back to school, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched a pre-matric scholarship scheme (effective September 2012) for ST & SC children.

This scheme is being implemented by Government of Odisha in the state. The department for SC & ST development is the nodal department for the implementation of the scheme. DFID is providing technical and financial assistance for the implementation of the scheme in the state. It is supporting the Government of Odisha for effective delivery, reach and impact of the national scheme with the assistance of Technical Agency (a consortium of IPE Global, IDF and Mastek). DFID will provide support for the initial three years (2013-2016), thereafter it would be carried forward by the state government.

DFID is also providing a top up amount to the IXth and Xth class SC and ST girls to help them come to school and complete their matriculation atleast. The program was launched as a pilot in the district of Rayagada, Odisha in March 2012. The pilot covered all SC & ST girls enrolled in class IX in government, government aided and private school. Incentive amount of Rs 2000 in monthly installments on the condition of 75% monthly attendance was transferred directly into the bank account of the girls.

The impact evaluation of the pilot showed 40% reduction in the dropout rates at the transition zone between elementary and secondary stages. The overall mean attendance rate showed an improvement of about 10%. Also, a 6% shift in the household attitudes in favour of pursuing higher education was seen.

However, in September 2012, Government of India announced its new pre matric scholarship scheme for grade 9th and 10th ST & SC children. In light of the new scheme, Government of Odisha & Government of India asked DFID to modify the design of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) to complement and enhance the impact of the central government’s scheme.

It was decided that DFID will support the state government to set up and manage systems to provide cash scholarships to 650,000 ST/SC boys and girls conditional on attending junior secondary school regularly. Along with scholarship disbursement the other areas of focus are awareness campaigns, pilot initiatives to improve the learning outcomes, financial inclusion through financial literacy on topics such as banking terminologies, processes and procedures, safety initiatives to reduce dropouts and initiate independent monitoring and evaluation to check scholarships are reaching the eligible and registered students on time.
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