India state offers cash to boost school attendance

Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:21am EDT
 
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PATNA, India (Reuters) - An east Indian state is offering one rupee (two cents) per day to poor children to encourage them to attend school and raise literacy levels, officials said Wednesday.

At least 40 percent of India's population lives on under $1.25 a day and in the eastern state of Bihar at least one million children do not receive any form of education, government records show.

"The amount may be little, but this will bring them back to school," Bihar's Tribal Welfare Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said Wednesday.

Children said they were happy to pocket the cash.

"I am not missing my classes these days or else I will have less coins in my pocket," Sonu Manjhi, a six-year-old student said at a school in Patna, capital of the eastern state.

(Writing by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Alistair Scrutton)