Along with the West Bengal state government’s skill development programme Utkarsh Bangla, a certain Sabooj Sathi scheme, another flagship of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the school students, has also been recognised by the United Nations.
The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), an associate concern of the UN, had previously acknowledged Utkarsh Bangla among the top five programs around the world under the ‘capacity building’ segment. The same organisation recently conducted another survey, and concluded with the results that the Sabooj Sathi programme has been nominated for the WSIS Awards 2019. It has secured a position in the top five among the 1,140 public schemes for maintaining high standards of public interest.
The West Bengal State Government introduced Sabooj Sathi (Students’ Companion) scheme in June 2015. Under this scheme, all the students of the Class IX-XII group across all government-run, aided and sponsored schools of the state will be given bi-cycles free of cost. The scheme, on a broad perspective, is aimed at encouraging students for higher education, and helps reduce the drop-out ratio.
This Feb 13, the West Bengal Backward Classes Welfare Department received a mail from Galstayan Tituhi of International Telecom Union (ITU), a United Nations wing. The message reads, “Your project ‘Sabooj Sathi Online 2.0 – Wheels of Change’ is among the top five voted in the Category 7, ICT applications, benefits of all aspects of life, e-governance and we would like to congratulate you on this amazing achievement and to share the excitement of promoting this recognition”.
Rajib Bandopadhyay, Divisional Minister of the Department of Backward Classes Welfare noted, “The entire credit of this recognition goes to the Chief Minister”.
The programme’s initial target was to cover roughly 40 lakh students, but currently, bi-cycles have been provided to more than 70 lakh students. It is expected that another 30 lakh students will be benefited by the scheme by 2020.