Addressing State Education Ministers and Secretaries in a video-conference from Delhi, the Union Minister for HRD, Prakash Javadekar urged all the states to fast track implementation of various special and specific schemes under RUSA and Samagra Shiksha in 117 Aspirational Districts. He emphasized that fast tracking the implemenations of these schemes would improve the quality of education and infrastructure.
Listing out various projects and project-specific funding available under RUSA for expansion and setting up of higher education institutions in aspirational districts, Mr. Javadekar said, "A lot will depend on the State Government for the speedy implementation of the projects in Aspirational Districts."
He informed that over Rs. 1700 crore has been allocated for Aspirational Districts. The fund is to be used for setting up 70 New Model Colleges, upgradation of 29 existing degree colleges to Model Degree Colleges; strengthening infrastructural facilities through new construction, upgradation/renovation and purchase of equipments; and construction/upgradation of hostels, laboratories, libraries, etc.
The fund is also to be utilized for setting up 7 New Professional Colleges (Engineering and Management), and infrastructure grant to 188 colleges and 9 Universities.
Under the equity initiative, the minister informed, an amount of Rs 5 crore is also being allocated to improve the standard of higher education with a focus on females, SC/ST and educationally backward communities.
On the matter of School Education, he said that that the government has made substantial allocations to build and maintain separate toilets for girls, provide drinking water, and maintain cleanliness in schools.
Central Government has already allocated funds and authorised Panchayati Raj institutions to work for the upkeep of toilets and provision of clean drinking water in government schools.
"I request the state governments to ensure that there is proper coordination at the Panchayati Raj level," he said.
He urged the state governments to make sure that electricity is available in all the government schools. In this context, he pointed out that in some schools power cuts are due to non-payment of electricity bills.
"We have already enhanced grants under Samagra Shikha from Rs 14000 to Rs 25000 and Rs 50000 to Rs 100,000. The states should ensure that the electricity bills are paid on time," he said.
The Minister also asked State Governments to impress upon the power distribution companies/regulators to charge domestic connection rates, and not commercial rates, for schools as government schools are not profit making institutions, rather impart education free of cost to students.
He also urged state governments to make textbooks available to students during the month of July itself.
On the issue of lack of teachers, he said that the fact is there is no shortage of teachers in our country. The issue is proper deployment of teachers. He again urged state governments to properly deploy teachers in Aspirational districts and and recruit teachers wherever it is necessary.
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