Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy launched another education welfare programme on Monday at Vizianagaram. The ‘Jagananna Vasathi Deevena’ (accommodation blessing) scheme provides financial assistance for students pursuing polytechnic or degree courses, as well as students of ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes), to meet hostel and mess charges.
On the other hand, mothers of school-going children with low incomes are also being provided financial assistance in the form of Amma Vodi. The scheme is valid for students upto intermediate (the state board equivalent of classes 11 and 12), whose mothers or guardians receive Rs 15,000 as yearly aid. The Vasathi Deevena scheme acts as an extension of Amma Vodi, and both schemes act as a form of scholarship to support poor students’ education. The Education Department is said to have approved Rs 2,300 crore for the scheme for this year.
On Monday, funds worth Rs 1,100 crore were transferred to the accounts of the guardians or mothers of around 11.87 lakh students, according to an official statement. ITI, polytechnic, and degree students will receive a total yearly assistance of Rs 10,000, Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 in two equal instalments in February and July every year. Post-graduate and PhD courses will also be covered under the scheme, and complete fee reimbursement will be provided for SC and ST students for all courses, the statement said.
Speaking at the event marking the launch of the scheme, CM Jagan said that education is the only asset that his government can offer to students of marginalised communities. He said that if even one person in a family completes a professional course and has a professional career, it will benefit many future generations in the family.
Pointing out that literacy levels in Andhra Pradesh are poorer than the national average, the CM said that reforms in the education sector are necessary to increase literacy and enrolment levels in the state.
But there was another speaker who stole the show with his speech. CH Abhimanyu, a student of Class 6 from a Zilla Parishad High School, delivered a fiery speech about the slew of measures taken by the Jagan government to improve education in the state.
The government is also set to spend Rs 3,700 crore this year for the Vidya Deevena scheme (total fee reimbursement), Jagan said. Fee reimbursement is one of the Navaratnalu or nine major promises made by Jagan during his election campaign. Added to the Rs 2,300 crore spent on Vasathi Deevena, and Rs 6,400 crore spent on Amma Vodi, Jagan pointed out that a total of Rs 12,400 crore was being spent on providing financial aid to students for their education.
In addition, the state government has also launched the Nadu-Nedu scheme to revamp infrastructure in government schools. Additional funds have also been allocated to alter the menu of the mid-day meal and make it more nutritious.
53,720 ITI students, 86,896 polytechnic students, and 10,47,288 degree and postgraduate students are being covered under the scheme, according to official numbers. While the amount given under Amma Vodi remains the same regardless of the number of children in the family, under Vasathi Deevena, each child in a family will receive the benefit individually.