An era of empowerment for SC/ST communities

“We realised that education is the right tool for empowerment as it will help the marginalised sections compete with other communities and secure jobs," says Minister K Radhakrishnan.
K Radhakrishnan at Mannanthala to inaugurate the Kerala Empowerment Society office on Tuesday. It was his final programme as minister.
K Radhakrishnan at Mannanthala to inaugurate the Kerala Empowerment Society office on Tuesday. It was his final programme as minister.Photo | Express

KOCHI: Born into Kuruma community, a tribal sub-caste with the highest school dropout rate in Kerala, K P Prasanth, a resident of Kaniyambatta in Wayanad, did not have any plan for his future when he completed BCom in 2017. However, the Rs 5-lakh scholarship offered by the SC/ST welfare department to facilitate foreign education of students belonging to marginalised communities changed his life.

“My ambition was to pursue masters in a foreign university. Due to my financial situation, my life took a different direction. In 2022, I received a scholarship from the Kerala Government and could pursue my MBA in data analytics and fintech at Anglia Ruskin University in England. Life has come a long way, proving that even with struggles and hurdles, we can chase our dreams. I am now working in a letting company in the UK as assistant project manager. I thank minister K Radhakrishnan, my family and friends who supported me through tough times,” says Prasanth.

“Implementation of welfare schemes will not help empower the marginalised sections that have been pushed to the fringes of society historically. We realised that education is the right tool for empowerment as it will help them compete with other communities and secure jobs. Once they get jobs, the next generation will integrate with society,” Radhakrishnan told TNIE.

“Under the Wings scheme, we have provided Rs 25.5 lakh scholarship to three SC students and two tribal students to pursue commercial pilot training at Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy. The most gratifying moment in my life was when the students came to my office to show me their pilot licence. I will cherish that memory. Now Sankeerthana Dinesh, the first tribal girl to get a commercial pilot licence, has expressed her desire to get trained in flying the A320 aircraft. I have sanctioned Rs 5 lakh each to all five students to pursue the training,” he said.

Empowerment programmes by Radhakrishnan

500 tribal community members appointed as beat forest officers

Scholarship for SC/ST communities to pursue courses in IIM, IIT, NIFT, CA, ICWA and company secretaryship

696 students provided E25 lakh each for foreign studies. They include 619 SC students, 41 ST students & 36 OBC students

SC/ST welfare minister K Radhakrishnan
SC/ST welfare minister K Radhakrishnan

Land for landless

607 acres distributed to 11,368 SC families

All tribal families in Thiruvananthapuram given land rights

4,247.42 acres distributed to 3,717 ST families

Housing project

Fund allocated to LIFE Mission to build houses for SC/ST communities

2021-22: Rs 418 crore

2022-23: Rs 140 crore

2023-24: Rs 220 crore

2024-25: Rs 440 crore

Houses under construction

30,117 for SC, 4,811 for ST

17,829 houses completed under Safe scheme in two years

Education facilities in settlements

9,811 study rooms for Class 5-12 students completed in 3 years. 364 community study rooms for Scheduled Tribes. Two Ekalavya Model Residential schools started in Kasaragod & Attappadi

Skill development

Training for Career Excellence (Trace), Justice Welfare and Legal Assistance (Jwala), Unnathi Kerala Empowerment Society formed to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST communities

500 civil engg graduates and diploma holders appointed accredited engineers in local bodies. 250 SC students who completed para medical courses appointed in hospitals with honorarium

380 management trainees in government institutions. 112 LLB graduates from SC/ST communities appointed to ensure legal support to the communities.

Edamalakkudy development

Rs 13.70 cr for road development

Rs 4.31 cr for internet connectivity

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