The Indian government has allocated funds worth Rs 1,449 crore for 332 Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) across the country, according to a report tabled in the Rajya Sabha. The aforementioned figures were presented by the Minister of Tribal Affairs, Renuka Singh Saruta, in response to a question raised in the Upper House of Parliament.
EMRS is a scheme for model residential schools introduced by the Indian government, dedicated especially for the Indian tribals. It was launched in the year 1997-1998 in order to ensure that ST (Scheduled Tribes) children across the country get access to quality education. It also enables them to grab opportunities in many professional courses which can then help them get jobs in numerous sectors. These schools do not just take into account the academic aspects; instead, they focus on the overall development of all the students.
The schools have a capacity for housing around 480 students each. They cater to standards VI-XII. So that the scheme gets an impetus, the government has decided that by 2022, all blocks having an ST population of over 50% and a minimum of 20,000 tribals will need to have an EMRS. This essentially means that around 462 more such schools will have to be opened by next year.
As per the latest report tabled in the Rajya Sabha, the total number of functional EMRS is 322. This figure also includes the schools which either became functional or are scheduled to become during the ongoing academic year. Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of functional EMRS at 63 schools. Among the states, Assam has the lowest number of functional EMRS and has just one school.
Madhya Pradesh also has the highest number of sanctioned teachers under the EMRS scheme at 1460. Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have the least strength when it comes to sanctioned teachers; the figure for both states is 40. The total sanctioned strength of teachers across the country in 322 functional EMRS is 6,371.
According to the report, Rs 1,449.24 crore has been allocated by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs of the central government to the states and Union Territories since 2017 for the growth and development of EMRS. The amount has increased from Rs 682 crore in 2017-2018 to more than double in 2019-2020. Since Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of functional EMRS, maximum funds worth Rs 310 crore have been allocated to the state.