Bihar government that had successfully introduced 75 per cent mandatory attendance for students to avail benefits of bicycle, uniform and scholarship schemes two years ago is likely to remove the provision from 2014-15.
The government has decided to revisit the effective provision reportedly because of “electoral considerations” after public representatives brought up “adverse” feedback of the parents, who do not want their wards to be deprived of the benefits because of the attendance criterion.
Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi, who conducted a review meeting of the education department with Education Minister Brishen Patel Thursday, asked for “revisiting 75 per cent attendance provision” to avail benefits of the three popular schemes, incurring annual expenditure of about Rs 2,800 cr that also includes Central fund.
While all categories of students from Class 1 to 8 having 75 per cent attendance are entitled to benefit of uniform, scholarship is given only to SC/ST and OBC students. Bicycles are given to Class 9 students.
Chief Minister Manjhi has sought a report from education department on removing the attendance provision that was implemented after the state government detected 20 lakh ghost admissions to avail the benefits. The government is likely to resume the system in which school in-charge uses his/her discretion in giving benefits of these three schemes.
After the implementation of attendance provision, there had been 30 per cent drop in beneficiaries of these schemes. Bihar primary education secretary Rahul Singh confirmed to The Indian Express that the CM had sought the report. Asked why the provision is being removed, Singh said: “The CM has asked us to submit a report first. We will seek details from districts and give our report. As for the proposal to remove the provision, I am not the competent authority to answer this”.
The state also decided that students passing 10+2 with first division will get Rs 25,000 as encouragement and SC/ST girls will get the same amount for passing in second division.