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Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Unveils Ambitious Plans to Enhance Educational Opportunities for Marginalized Communities

New Delhi: In a significant leap towards promoting inclusive education, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is actively implementing transformative schemes aimed at enhancing educational opportunities for marginalized communities. Under the umbrella of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PM-AJAY), the Ministry is focused on the Construction/Repair of Educational Hostels for Scheduled Caste (SC) students and the Construction of Educational Hostels for Other Backward Class (OBC) boys and girls.

A major stride in this endeavor unfolded today as the Ministry inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for 34 residential hostels across various states and central institutes. These hostels, dedicated to SC and OBC students, not only address infrastructural needs but also exemplify the government’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and conducive environment for learning.

The inauguration and foundation stone-laying ceremony, held on February 29, 2024, witnessed the presence of the Minister Dr. Virendra Kumar, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Secretary Saurabh Garg, senior officers of the Ministry, and Members of Parliament and Legislative Assembly from respective constituencies.

Key Highlights:

Inauguration and Foundation Stone Laying: A total of 34 hostels were inaugurated today, with the foundation stone laid for a project worth Rs. 165.81 crores (Rs. 143.45 crores for SC hostels and Rs. 22.36 crores for OBC hostels). This initiative is set to accommodate a total of 5456 students, catering to the accommodation needs of 3150 girls and 750 boys from SC communities and 396 girls from OBC communities.

Financial Allocation: The Ministry has allocated substantial financial resources for this initiative. A sum of Rs. 385.94 crores has been sanctioned for the construction of 192 SC hostels since 2014-15. Additionally, Rs. 288.61 crores have been released under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the construction of hostels for OBC boys and girls, benefiting 20915 students till date.

Empowering Education: These initiatives underscore the government’s unwavering commitment to providing a conducive learning environment for socially and educationally backward communities. The Ministry aims to bridge the gap in educational infrastructure, ensuring affordable accommodation and empowering students to pursue their academic aspirations.

In the academic year 2021-22, SC students accounted for 15.3% of the total enrollment, and OBC students comprised 37.8%. The enrollment figures demonstrate a significant increase, with SC student enrollment reaching 66.23 lakh in 2021-22, marking a commendable 25.4% increase over the past five years. The enrollment of OBC students saw a noteworthy surge to approximately 1.63 crore in 2021-22, showcasing a 27.3% increase since 2017-18.

These advancements signify a substantial improvement in Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER), underscoring the Ministry’s commitment to promoting inclusive growth and social equity through targeted interventions in education. As symbols of hope and opportunity, these hostels stand testament to the Ministry’s unwavering resolve to empower every individual with the transformative power of education.

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