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Assam announces more sops amid anti-CAA protests

At the forefront: Singer Zubeen Garg, centre, and other artistes at a protest in Guwahati on Thursday.

At the forefront: Singer Zubeen Garg, centre, and other artistes at a protest in Guwahati on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

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Children, teachers, health workers and the differently abled to benefit

Sops continue to rain in Assam amid the ongoing stir against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Sarbananda Sonowal’s BJP-led coalition government on Thursday announced a set of sops for children, teachers, health workers and the differently abled. This follows a one-time grant for artists and technicians and land settlement deeds for landless indigenous people in the State.

 

Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said a one-time financial assistance of ₹1 lakh each would be given to the wards of 700 employees of two dead paper mills, who are pursuing studies in a medical or engineering college or a similar course. The Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited used to run these mills.

“Likewise, ₹75,000 each would be given to those children pursuing post-graduate studies or doing PhD research, ₹50,000 each to those pursuing graduation in colleges or diploma in polytechnics, ₹25,000 to those studying in Standard XI and XII and ₹10,000 to those studying from nursery to class 10,” he told newspersons.

Mr Sarma said the education scheme related to the paper mills, entailing ₹5 crore, would be implemented in February. After applications are submitted online from January 14, the amount would be transferred to the bank accounts of beneficiaries who will be selected following a process of screening by the deputy commissioners (district magistrates) of the two districts where the mills are located.

A week ago, the children of Cachar Paper Mill employees took to the streets with begging bowls, seeking help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Sonowal.

 

Mr Sarma also announced a health scheme through which some 50,000 employees under National Health Mission can claim medical reimbursement of up to ₹5 lakh annually from the government. The scheme covers the members of their families too.

“We will extend this health scheme also to 50,000 teachers contracted through TET (Teacher Eligibility Test) as well as the State pool teachers under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the next two months. The additional teachers or contractual teachers working in government high schools will also be covered under it,” he said.

The third scheme announced on Thursday was for differently abled State government employees. The government would bear 4% of the interest if they avail a bank loan to buy a two-wheeler or a car.

The last fortnight had seen the State government announce ₹50,000 as a one-time grant for some 2,000 artistes and technicians of the State. The government also announced creation of autonomous councils for certain communities and handing over land settlement deeds to some 40,000 indigenous people.

Other commitments included making Assamese the State language “for all time to come”. There have been apprehensions that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act would bring in Bengali speakers from Bangladesh to threaten the existence of the Assamese language and culture.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 2:26:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-announces-more-sops-amid-anti-caa-protests/article30522440.ece

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