New Delhi (PTI): Under fire for his handling of communal violence in Orissa, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday reaffirmed his Government's faith in the harmonious development of all communities, with emphasis on promotion of minority-run educational institutes.
He said that state grant to minority institutes has been increased from Rs 1.81 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 2.18 crore in 2008-09 and a special drive initiated for tribal education.
"There is also a greater focus on improving literacy of SC and ST communities", he said while speaking at the National Integration Council meeting here today, inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The Chief Minister said that more than 3,000 hostels for SC and ST students have been established across the state to accommodate about 3.20 lakh boarders at the pre-matric level.
He said that the aim was to improve the quality and quantity of education in SC/ST department schools where teacher-student ratio is 1:20 as against the state average of 1:40.
The state government is implementing the merit-cum-means scholarship for both pre-matric and post-matric education of students of minority communities as introduced by the Centre.
A new B.Ed college for SC and ST youths has also been announced in the state, he said.
He attributed the recent violence in Kandhamal district to "conflict of interests" between SC and STs.