Kerala Cabinet on Tuesday decided to grant aided school status to 40 of the 277 private schools for mentally challenged persons in the State.

Briefing the media, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that now schools with more than 100 students were being converted into aided schools. This criteria would be relaxed later to grant aided status to more special schools. Till then, the teachers and non-teaching staff of private schools would be given a monthly allowance of Rs. 1600.

The Chief Minister said that it was a failure on the part of the government not to have ensured free education to the mentally challenged while free education was being offered to other students. Currently, there was only one special school for mentally challenged in the government sector. The BUDS special schools functioning under the Social Justice Department with more than 100 students would now be given the status of government schools.

Educational loans

Mr. Chandy said that the Cabinet had decided to declare a moratorium on recovery of agricultural and educational loans of up to Rs. 3 lakh taken by farmers from cooperatives in view of the drought situation. This would be effective till June 30. The commercial banks would be requested to suspend recoveries on farm and educational loans of up to Rs. 5 lakh.

He said that steps were being taken up for establishment of a government medical college in Idukki district. Posts had been sanctioned for the newly formed medical college at Manjeri. As many as 40 posts of pharmacists (grade II) would be created in the Health Services Department.

The Cabinet had given administrative sanction for works costing Rs. 8.25 crore for the High Court in Kochi including renovation of the conference hall. The salary and service conditions of Pay Revision Commission and its staff had also been approved.

The Chief Minister said that the Cabinet had discussed proposals of Coconut Development Corporation for production of Neera. Decisions on the proposals would be taken by the Cabinet on Wednesday. The toddy workers’ unions had been very helpful in changing Abkari rules to facilitate manufacture of Neera.

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