Updated: March 9, 2021 12:17:49 am
Four days after children of waste pickers in the city initiated a campaign and demanded a hike in their scholarship amount from Rs 1,850 to Rs 3,000 per year — which has been due for several years now — the state government on Monday issued a government resolution (GR) in this regard and sanctioned the increase in scholarship.
On the occasion of International Waste Pickers’ Day on March 2, The Indian Express had reported about a campaign started by Pune-based NGO Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) that demanded increased scholarships granted to children of waste pickers.
All children of waste pickers are eligible under the centrally-sponsored pre-matric scholarship of the children of those engaged in occupation involving cleaning and prone to health hazards. In 2018, the Union government had announced an increase in the amount from Rs 1,850 to Rs 3,000 per year. However, the state government had not implemented the change, even three years after the Centre announced the revision.
After constant reminders failed, it was in March last year — just before the lockdown — when state ministers Dhananjay Munde and Deputy Chairperson of the Legislative Council Neelam Gorhe, among others, agreed to disburse the increased scholarship amount.
“But then the lockdown took place and everything was suspended. We are happy that the efforts and the follow-ups by volunteers and students finally paid off and the scholarship amount is being revised. The waste pickers will be very happy; this is probably the best women’s day gift they have received,” said Aditya Vyas, a volunteer at KKPKP.
There are at least 1,500 children of waste pickers in the city who are beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme. They had started a social media campaign on March 2 to remind the ministers to keep their promise of increasing the educational assistance provided to children of cleaning workers.
The children mailed postcards to the ministers, besides rallying with posters and raising slogans to create awareness around the cleaning occupations’ scheme.
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