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Sarva Shiksha will be used to push right to education

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New Delhi: The notification on the Right to Education is likely to be issued soon as most of preparatory work that has delayed it is nearly over. Even the Planning Commission has promised a big outlay for RTE that would kick start the historic legislation.

The HRD ministry had demanded Rs 40,000 crore for elementary education and expects to get a substantial hike from last year's Rs 13,100 crore for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Plan panel sources indicated that HRD is likely to get more than Rs 20,000 crore for SSA. The Finance Commission has already promised more than Rs 20,000 crore for the next five years for the states.

After framing the model rules for RTE, drawing out the roadmap and process of harmonising RTE with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan that included changing the latter's norms, the ministry feels that SSA will be the main vehicle to implement RTE.

The executive committee of SSA has already made changes in the norms that do not have much financial bearing and do not need cabinet approval. However, major changes like teacher norms will have a substantial financial implication and will, therefore, be taken to the Expenditure Finance Committee and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

The lingering question of Centre-State share for RTE is also likely to be resolved soon. The PM has already held a meeting with HRD minister Kapil Sibal, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia in this connection. Sources said while states have been demanding a 90:10 spending pattern between the Centre and states, HRD would like it to be 75:25. "The SSA funding pattern is 55:45 but RTE cannot follow the same pattern. States do not have the money," the sources said.

As for the change in SSA norms, it has been decided that all existing Education Guarantee Scheme centres that have been functioning for two years will be upgraded to regular schools. Provision has also been made in SSA norms that upto 0.5% of a district's outlay may be utilised for community mobilisation but it should be within the overall management cost of 6%.

Change has also been made in case of provision for disabled children from the existing Rs 1,200 per child annually to Rs 3,000. Also, money for civil works can be utilised for library purpose and the fund for a school can be used for buying play material.

source: TOI





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