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World Bank offers additional $ 500 mn funds for SSA

With government’s flagship Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme showing encouraging results in expansion of elementary education, the World Bank has come forward with an offer to provide additional funding of $ 500 million for the programme.

The World Bank has proposed the government to provide the money as soft loans to be paid over a period of 35 to 40 years with lesser interest.

The World Bank had provided soft loan of $ 600 million for the scheme which aims at universalisation of elementary education.

At present 99 per cent of the habitations in the country have got a primary school. Under the SSA, 2.7 lakh schools have already been operationalised in the country since 2000—01. Similarly, about 9.86 lakh teachers have been recruited by March this year.

“The World Bank wants to extend its funding to the programme which has been successful in providing access to education to the children in all areas. The proposal of the World Bank is under consideration,” a HRD Ministry official said.

The government has already spent the $ 600 million of funds provided by the World Bank for the period from 2008—10. The DFID and European Commission have provided grant-in-aid of $ 400 million for the programme for the period.

The Central budget outlay for SSA was pegged at Rs 13,100 crore in 2009—10. The states would provide their matching grants of Rs. 10434 crore for the scheme also.

According to a study, the percentage of out of school children has declined to 4.22 per cent children in the 6 -14 age group.

Meanwhile, joint teams comprising representatives of World Bank, DFID, EC and HRD Ministry, will conduct a review of the implementation of SSA this month.

The joint review mission will start from January 15 and will continue till January 30, the official said.

The teams will visit states like Assam, Bihar, Chhattishgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal.

“The teams will look at progress and implementation of SSA and analyse the financial management of the scheme,” the official said.

The norms of SSA will be changed soon to make it compatible with the provisions of Right to Education Act.

The Ministry has set up a committee to suggest follow up action to harmonise the SSA vision, strategies and norms with the mandate of recently passed Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act which entitles children in the 6 -14 years age group to free and compulsory education.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 4:03:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/World-Bank-offers-additional-500-mn-funds-for-SSA/article16835279.ece

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