Patna, Jun 14 (PTI) The Bihar cabinet on Friday approved Rs 774 crore to clear the pending honorarium of around 30,000 'Shiksha Sevaks' and 'Talimi Markaz', who connect children belonging to Mahadalit, minorities and the extremely backward communities to formal school education.

During the meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the council of ministers green-lighted a proposal from the Education Department to withdraw Rs 774.24 crore from the non-plan expenditure head, an official said.

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"The decision has been taken for smooth implementation of the state government's 'Akshar Anchal Programme' aimed at ensuring the welfare of the Mahadalit, minorities and the extremely backward communities in the state," S Siddharth, Additional Chief Secretary (Cabinet Secretariat) told reporters after the meeting.

The programme aims at connecting the children from these communities in the age group between 6 and 14 to formal school education, he said.

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"With this decision of the cabinet, around 30,000 'Shiksha Sevaks' and 'Talimi Markaz' will get their honorarium that has been pending for the last several months", the official said.

'Shiksha Sevaks' and 'Talimi Markaz' also work on implementing various developmental and welfare schemes of the government effectively in rural areas.

"They act as bridges between the government and families of Mahadalit, minorities and the extremely backward communities ...often working as 'agents of change', " he said.

The state cabinet had, last year, increased the monthly honorarium of 'Shiksha Sevaks' and 'Talimi Markaz' working in different parts of the state from Rs 11,000 to Rs 22,000.

The cabinet also approved an 'unemployment allowance' scheme under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for those who don't find work under the programme within fifteen days after applying.

"If a person applying for employment under the scheme is not employed within fifteen days, he/she will be entitled to get an unemployment allowance. It will be at least one-fourth of the minimum wage for the first 30 days and half of the minimum wage thereafter," said Siddharth.

Besides, the council of ministers approved an increase in the house rent allowance (HRA) of state government employees living in cities.

"Those state government employees posted in X category cities-like Delhi and Mumbai will now get HRA of 30 per cent of their basic salary, in Y category city like Patna, employees will get 20 per cent (earlier it was 16 per cent) of their basic salary as HRA. For Z category cities, they will get 10 per cent (earlier it was eight per cent) of their basic salary as HRA', he said.

In uncategorised cities, employees will get housing rent allowance at 7.5 per cent, up from 6 per cent of their basic salary, he added.

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