The Cabinet has decided to increase the number of seats for Plus Two courses in government schools in the State by 20 per cent.
Briefing the media after a Cabinet meeting here on Wednesday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that private managements would be given the option to increase or not to increase seats.
(Currently, the State has about 3.51 lakh seats for Plus Two courses in various subjects. This would go up by around 60,000 with most managements opting to increase the seats, official sources said.)
The Chief Minister announced that more than 600 alternative schools functioning in the tribal, coastal, and backward areas of the State would continue to function till the implementation of the Right to Education Act. The schools had been set up under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and people demanded that these schools should not be closed down.
Pension for unwed mothers
Mr. Chandy said the Cabinet had decided to increase the welfare pension for unwed tribal mothers from Rs.300 to Rs.1,000 a month. Besides, one acre of land would be given to each of them. The police would be directed to take strong action against those who had exploited the women.
He said the problem of unwed mothers was a serious one. According to the Scheduled Tribes Department, there were 910 unwed mothers in Wayanad district. Police estimates put it around 1,500. Though the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission had submitted a series of recommendations to the government in this respect in 2009, only the recommendation for payment of pension had been implemented. The government proposed to take up a rehabilitation plan for them. Land would be provided to such tribal women under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, if eligible. The Wayanad Collector would be asked to buy land for others. Budget funds of the Scheduled Tribes Department would be spent for building houses for them. Arrangements would be made for imparting education and employment training to the children of the unwed mothers. The Forest Department would be asked to examine the scope of providing employment to the mothers in the department.
He said the Cabinet had cleared the construction of a bridge across the Pallana river in Alappuzha district. Along with that, 2.6 km of the road connecting Karuvatta to Kumarkodi would be improved. The work, costing Rs.32.8 crore, would be entrusted to the State Construction Corporation. The project would bring down the distance to poet Kumaranasan Memorial to 8 km from the National Highway passing through the district.
Rajiv Sadanandan would be appointed as Health Secretary. Excise Commissioner Anil Xavier would be given additional charge of Labour. Sarada Muraleedharan, who is in charge of Kudumbasree, would be given additional charge of Social Welfare.