Homeless children to get boarding school, Delhi govt allocates 10crores budget

The Delhi government has set aside Rs.10 crore to set up a boarding school for children from homeless families living on the roadside, on footpaths, under flyovers and stairs, or in open places of worship, pavilions, and railway platforms, who are deprived of basic facilities like shelter, food, and education.

Announcing the state Budget for 2022-23, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “The government has taken several measures to provide basic education to these children. However, these measures have been only partially successful. The Delhi government has decided to set up a boarding school with modern facilities concerning the future of these underprivileged, homeless children at an early age. These schools will also facilitate the children to live along with education and try to bring them into the mainstream of the society.”

There were as many as 35,000-40,000 children (homeless or without supervising adults) on the streets, according to a 2018 survey by NGO Save the Children.

At a press conference after the Budget, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “When you stop at a traffic light, a small child knocks on your window and asks you for money or tries to sell you something, no one pays any attention to them. Why? Because they are not voters, they are not voting banks. No government pays any attention to them. Today, we will make an Rs.10 crore residential state-of-the-art facilities school for them.”

He said children first need emotional and psychological support. “All attempts to pick them up from these traffic lights have failed because they have lacked humanity. They get picked up, put in jail, and put in childcare centers. No one is there to ask after them, and they return to the same situation. This school will be one where they will get 5-star facilities, and these children will be brought to the mainstream and given respectful lives and be made good citizens,” Kejriwal said.

Sisodia has allocated Rs.16,278 crore for education for the next financial year. Like the previous years, the sector has received 21.47 percent. It is a little lower than 23.74 percent or Rs.16,377 crore allocated in 2021-22.

The boarding school for the children will be the second residential school set up by the Delhi government – the first is its new Armed Forces Preparatory School, which is currently admitting the first batch of students. The aim is to provide a stable environment where children from marginalized and insecure circumstances can study.

The national capital state’s accomplishments in education have emerged as a significant poll plank as the Aam Aadmi Party hopes to make its foray into other states. In Punjab, where it recorded a thumping win, education reforms had featured prominently in its election manifesto.

Another key announcement was the proposal for a School Science Museum to be set up in Chirag Enclave, for which Rs.50 crore has been allotted. “With this, many such topics of science among students and teachers, which may seem like the world of magic through books and videos, will be easily understood by visiting this museum. This School Science Museum will play an important role in developing curiosity and interest in science among children,” he said.

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