Special fund sought for RTE

Ahead of the presentation of the State Budget on February 4, a demand for separate allocation for the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act for the coming academic year, instead of clubbing it with the budget for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), was made here at a round-table conference on the effective implementation of the RTE Act.

At the round-table, organised by the Dalit Students’ Federation, on Tuesday, Niranjanaradhya V.P. from the Centre for Child Law at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) said: “The share RTE gets under the SSA is meagre. The government should make a special allocation for RTE in the State Budget to demonstrate political will to implement the Act effectively.”

This demand gains weight in the wake of the expenditure on RTE almost doubling in 2013-14 with a fresh batch of admissions under the 25 per cent RTE quota (the government will be reimbursing admissions made in 2012-13 and 2013-14).

However, Mr. Niranjanaradhya appealed to the government to not restrict the implementation of the Act to the 25 per cent reservation. “Also, the rules (that the State government framed) of the RTE Act are made to seem like they apply only to the 25 per cent students. But action can be taken according to the Act if the unaided schools are flouting the rules,” he said. He cited the example of a section in the RTE Act which makes it mandatory for schools to notify the fee structure.

“Take strict action against those who don’t comply; take away recognition. Even ICSE and CBSE schools are obliged to comply with the State rules,” he said. He also urged for the School Development and Monitoring Committees (SDMCs) to be empowered and training to be provided to the panchayats.

Palakshaiah, consultant, RTE Cell, SSA, admitted that in 2012, only the 25 per cent reservation clause of the RTE Act was implemented in the real sense, and the challenge would be to implement the rest of the clauses in the Act in the coming years. “Then, we can assume that 50 per cent of the work is complete. If a separate budget is given, the RTE Act can be strengthened,” he added.

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