About 40 lakh Class 9 and 10 students from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes may soon benefit from India's first-ever centrally sponsored pre-matric scholarship programme for SC/ST students, announced by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday.
He also declared that salaries of anganwadi workers and helpers would be doubled.
The government is already implementing a post matric scholarship programme for SC/ST students. "There was so far a lack of a post matric scholarship scheme. In 2011-12, I propose to introduce a scholarship scheme for needy students belonging to the SCs and STs," the finance minister said.
"Empowerment flows through education," Mukherjee said. HRD ministry sources said details of the plan were still to be worked out.
Mukherjee announced a hike in salaries of anganwadi workers — the backbone of the Integrated Child Development Scheme — from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 a month. Anganwadi helpers will also now receive Rs 1,500 a month instead of Rs 750 at present.
Mukherjee also announced a new “Women’s SHG's Development Fund” with a corpus of R500 crore, which will serve women's self help groups.