` 5 lakh education loan for ST students: Deo

Take tribals into confidence prior to Project Tiger implementation

Union tribal and panchayat raj minister V Kishorechandra Deo said more funds would be earmarked for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the Union budget to be presented on March 16.

Speaking after performing ground breaking ceremony for construction of Ekalavya model residential school built at a cost of Rs 12 crore at Ramanagudda near Mangala in Kollegal taluk on Saturday, he said loans up to Rs five lakh would be advanced at an interest rate of six per cent for ST students pursuing post-graduation.

They need not produce any guarantee and loans would be disbursed based on the annual income mentioned in the ration cards.

Loan will be provided under the National Scheduled Tribe Development Commission and it can be repaid within 20 years after securing job after completion of the course, he added.

He appealed to the legislators for judicial implementation of Forest Rights Act in their respective constituencies and to provide opportunities for tribal people to collect and sell forest products.

Though tribals have been living in forest for centuries, they do not cause damage to the forest resources. It is only the greedy urbanites who are looting natural resources, he criticised.

Commenting on the Tiger Project, he said tribals and experts should be taken into confidence before implementing the project.

The residential school will provide opportunities for students from 6th to 12th standard and 50 per cent of seats will be reserved for girls, he stated.

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