HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar urged states to fast track implementation of various special, specific schemes under RUSA

New Delhi: Union HRD Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar today urged all the states to fast track implementation of various special and specific schemes under RUSA and Samagra Shiksha for boosting quality of education and educational infrastructure in 117 Aspirational Districts in line with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to achieve the aims of equity, access and excellence.

Addressing State Education Ministers and Secretaries through video-conferencing from Delhi, the Union Education Minister stressed on the crucial role the states have to play in fast-tracking the operationalisation of the special schemes in these aspirational districts.

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 pointed out that over Rs 1700 crore have been allocated for Asipirational Districts so far for setting up of 70 New Model Colleges; upgradation of 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 assistance also includes upgradation of 29 Colleges to Model Degree Colleges, 7 New Professional Colleges (viz. Engineering & Management), infrastructure grants to 188 Colleges and 9 Universities.

The Minister also informed that under the equity initiatives, an amount of Rs 5 crore is being allocated for the purposes of improving the standard of higher education with a focus on females, SC/ST and educationally backward communities.

Referring to School Education, Mr Javadekar said that substantial allocation has been made for building and maintenance of separate toilets for girl students; provision of drinking water; and 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 government s to ensure that there is proper coordination at the Panchayati Raj level,” he said.

He urged the state governments to ensure availability of electricity 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. The Minister also urged the State Governments to impress upon the power distribution companies/regulators to charge domestic connection rates, and not commercial rates, for schools considering the fact that the government schools are not profit making institutions, rather impart education free of cost to students.

Noting the delay in some states in distribution of text books to students, Mr Javadekar asserted that the State Governments should ensure that the text books to students are made available during the month of July itself.

He also observed that “In some schools in Aspirational Districts there is issue of availability of teachers. But the fact is that there is no shortage of teachers in our country, only their proper deployment is the issue. We have one teacher for 30 students. The State Governments should ensure proper deployment of teachers in the schools in Aspirational Districts and recruit wherever it is necesessary.”