Free bikes for schoolgirls in Orissa

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Bhubaneswar: Taking a leaf out of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s book, the Orissa government on January 4 decided to gift free bicycles  to all girls studying in Class X in government and government-aided schools across the state.

Free bicycles will also be provided to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe boys studying in these schools in the state’s scheduled areas. The decisions were taken at a high-level meet held at the secretariat here January 4.

What appears to have been modeled on Nitish’s Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojana, which stood him in good stead in the recent assembly polls in the state,  the new scheme of the state government is also expected to bring in rich political dividends for the ruling Biju Janata Dal.

The state government has also decided to provide free school uniforms to all boys up to Class VIII in the scheduled areas of the state. At present, only girls in these areas enjoy the facility. Similarly, till now, free bicycles had been given to SC/ST girls under the scheme launched in 2006-07.

The state government will also build sports complexes on the school premises in scheduled areas, which include around 111 blocks of the state.

The step is expected to push female literacy up in the state, which now stands at 50.51 percent. The state’s average literacy rate continues to stand at 63.08 percent.

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