Other States

Bihar too poor to bear RTE burden: Nitish

Objecting to the Centre-State fund sharing ratio for the new Right to Education (RTE) Act, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said the Centre should bear the entire financial burden of implementing the Act in the State.

While lauding the Act as a “welcome step” to ensure compulsory education for children in the age group of 6-14 years, Mr. Kumar said the 55:45 Centre-State fund sharing ratio would overstretch the resources of a cash-strapped State like Bihar.

“Bihar will require an additional Rs.27,000 crore to implement the Act. If our total Budget is a mere Rs.53,000 crore, how then do we set the Act in motion in the State?” asked Mr. Kumar, speaking at “Akshar Bihar” function organised by the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI).

“The State's outlay for education this fiscal year is Rs.9,000 crore,” Mr. Kumar said. “Even if we partake 10 per cent of the expenditure burden, as some States are saying, it would be straining the financial resources of a poor State like ours,” he added.

Citing the example of the State-sponsored “Akshar Aanchal” scheme to make 40 lakh women literate by September this year, Mr. Kumar said the expenditure had already shot up from Rs.53 crore to Rs.83 crore.

“We have been trying to implement similar initiatives in the State. According to the report by noted NGO Pratham, Bihar has 7.7 lakh children out of school – a significant decrease from the erstwhile figure of 25 lakh children, before our government came to power,” commented the Chief Minister.

According to State Human Resource Development Minister Harinarayan Singh, Mr. Kumar has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that the Centre bear the cost for implementation of the Act.

Mr. Singh said the State would need an additional 3.3 lakh teachers and 1.8 lakh classrooms to implement the Act, which came into force on April 1. “This recruitment exercise has to be completed within three years to bring the teacher-student ratio to 1:30; while all teachers have to be trained within five years,” he said.

Earlier, Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development D. Purandareswari, who was present at the function to deliver the 12{+t}{+h} Myles Horton and Paulo Freire Memorial Lecture, said the Centre had set a target of achieving 85% literacy rate for the country by the end of the 11{+t}{+h} Five Year Plan (2007-12).

She said the outlay for adult education under the current Plan was twice the combined outlays of three previous Five Year Plans.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 1:22:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Bihar-too-poor-to-bear-RTE-burden-Nitish/article16364927.ece

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