Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Annual report doesn’t reflect ground reality, says Gamang

Expressbuzz, Jan 13, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: The annual report of the administration of scheduled areas approved by the Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) has become an issue for debate with a former chief minister suggesting that it should also reflect the law and order situation in those areas.

There is unrest among the tribals for various reasons in recent times and the TAC should discuss this, former chief minister and Congress MP from Koraput Giridhar Gamang said. The TAC approved the report on Friday. He said that now the report only deals with developmental activities initiated by the State Government. This does not reflect the real situation, he said. The socio-economic indicators remain deficient in scheduled areas. The infant mortality rate (IMR) remains high in tribal districts of Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Koraput, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Phulbani, Sundargarh, Deogarh, Keonjhar and Gajapati.

The IMR now is 73 per 1,000 live births in Orissa and the State Government is implementing several schemes to bring it down to 50. The maternal mortality is as high as 358 per one lakh live births in the State. Official sources maintained that in tribal districts, the IMR and MMR are even more.

Low literacy rate among the Scheduled Tribes is also one of the major concerns of the State. The Orissa child census conducted by the Orissa Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA) reveals that there are 11,479 schools in the State with at least 20 plus children with linguistic diversities.

According to the annual report, about 56,000 Santal children face severe linguistic disabilities in the school due to the gap in home language and school language. The result is poor achievement in education of ethnic and linguistic minorities in the State.

The report maintained that tribal literacy in the State is alarming at 37.37 per cent. The tribal female literacy is abysmal at 23.41 per cent. Official sources maintained that this is a major challenge in achieving equitable quality education in the State.

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