GUWAHATI, Feb 1: Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today launched the Bhasha Gourab and Pragyan Bharati schemes of the State government at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, an official press release stated.

Under the Bhasha Gourab scheme, 21 indigenous sahitya sabhas (literary bodies) of the State have been provided a total of Rs 43 crore as contribution towards their corpus funds. Under the scheme, 600 writers of the State have also been provided Rs 50,000 each to help in their literary activities.

On the other hand, a total of 3,26,046 college students were given Rs 1500 each through direct transfer to their bank accounts under the Pragyan Bharati scheme for purchasing text books. A total of Rs 161 crore was also reimbursed today to colleges under Pragyan Bharati scheme for free admission of 4 lakh eligible students.

Speaking on the occasion, Sonowal said that the State Government is committed to provide higher education to the poorest of the poor students and that is why, schemes like Pragyan Bharati have been launched. He also urged the parents and guardians to motivate their children to acquire knowledge through education and called on the students to utilise the opportunity provided by the schemes to achieve excellence in the academic field and develop Assam in all spheres. He also said that literature is a reflection of the society and that is why, the Assam government is taking steps to provide financial assistance to writers and the indigenous sahitya sabhas.

Calling on the young generation to work for preservation of natural environment and biodiversity of the State, Sonowal said that 8.5 crore trees have been planted till now in the State and he asserted that economy cannot be developed at the cost of ecology. Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for making North East an organic hub, Sonowal said that efforts have been made in this regard and he urged all stakeholders to join hands for the preservation of environment.

Sonowal also said that there cannot be peace in the society without unity and harmony and that is why all communities of the State must strive to maintain camaraderie and brotherhood. He also called on the parents and the teachers to encourage the younger generation towards sports and cultural activities for their holistic development and referred to the example of Hima Das who brought laurels to the State and the country at the world stage in the field of sports.

Minister of Education, Health, Finance etc., Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma also spoke on the occasion and said that the State government has taken steps for providing primary education till Class-V to all students in the State in their own mother tongues and he thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for implementing the National Education Policy which has made it possible. He also informed about the State government’s plan to provide pocket money to the college students in the near future apart from the money provided for the purchase of textbooks. Due to the relentless efforts of the State government, Assam is at the second position in the country in the index for educational development, at the second position in literary rate in the country and also second in the performance of taking education to the poor, he added. He also remarked that the State government has provided financial assistance to writers under the Bhasha Gourab Scheme without any discrimination and irrespective of the writers’ political ideologies, so that an environment for intellectual development can be facilitated in the State.

Principal Secretary Higher Education B Kalyan Chakraborty, Commissioner & Secretary of Education Department Pritam Saikia, Secretary of Higher Education Deepak Mazumder were also present in today’s programme among others. Principals of colleges from across the State, students, representatives of Sahitya Sabhas, and writers also attended today’s programme.