The Punjab prisons department on Wednesday announced the launch of a Rs 12,000 annual scholarship for wards of inmates. Under the scheme christened 'Bal Kalyan', wards of inmates who score above 70% marks in Class 10 from any board and any state will be given Rs 12,000 scholarship a year, till the parent remains in jail.
"There is no fault of a child, if his/her father or mother is in jail. The scheme is meant to encourage such students to excel, provided they score 70% or above in Class 10 exams," said cabinet minister Sohan Singh Thandal at a function where he distrcituted some of the first cheques under the scheme at a function held in Patiala jail. ADGP (prisons) Rajpal Meena, considered to be brainchild of the scheme, accompanied the minister.
"The motive is to encourage youngsters to pursue higher education. Punjab is the first state in India to formulate such scheme," said Meena.
Thandal also inaugurated the facility of video-conferencing from Patiala Jail, which will also inmates to interact with family members.
"With this facility, the inmate can talk to his family from their homes itself, saving time and money of visitors, who come to meet prisoners from far-off places," the minister added.
The minister also gave five LED TVs to the jail administration to be installed in barracks. Talking to media persons, the minister said the department had started installing mobile jammers in jails.
"Work on installation of jammers has been completed in Nabha, Sangrur, Gurdaspur and Kapurthala. The other jails will be covered in two years," he added.