Re 2000 Cr Hostels For 350,000 Girls - Revamping A Failed Bid

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New Delhi, Oct 24 (UNI) A new scheme to build and run 3,500 hostels for 350,000 secondary and higher secondary school girls was announced by the Human Resource Development Ministry today.

The scheme replaces an earlier bid to pay voluntary groups to run hostels-- which failed with fund recipients exploiting ''procedural loopholes,'' an HRD Ministry statement said.

Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Science evaluated its functioning in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa and suggested revamping it-- apparently without any steps at accountability.

The revised scheme is to give financial assistance for construction and running of girls' hostels by State governments in educationally backward blocks, the Ministry statement said.

The Re 2,000 crore scheme to be implemented starting the current financial year includes recurring grants to meet residents' need, it said.

The scheme is aimed at bringing girl children to school and retaining them through secondary and higher secondary stages, the statement said.

Its target group are class IX to XII girl students from weaker sections-- including scheduled castes, tribes, other backward classes, minority communities and below poverty line families.

Girls in a recognised school in educationally backward blocks run by any authority-- State, District or Non-governmental organisation-- with a valid certificate from school Headmaster will be eligible to stay in the hostels.

The scheme entails admitting ar least 50 per cent girls hailing from scheduled castes, tribes, other backward classes and minority communities.

The hostels will be built in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, where space permits, or in the compound of a secondary or higher secondary school selected by the respective State government.

KGB Vidyalaya student will be given preference in hostel accommodation. In blocks with no KGB Vidyalayas, students from all government or aided schools in the vicinity of the hostel will be eligible.

Under the 11th Five Year Plan, Rs 2,000 crore has been allocated for the scheme, of which Rs 80 crore has been provided in the 2008-09 budget, the Centre and the States sharing in the ratio of 90:10.

UNI MJ RP HS1941

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