New Delhi: The Right to Education Bill, which seeks to make education a right of every child, is likely to be introduced in the ensuing session of the Parliament. The the Group of Ministers have finalized the funding pattern between the Centre and States for implementation of projects recommended in the Bill.
“There is no problem in the bill now. A satisfactory solution on funding responsibility (between the States and the Centre) has been achieved. I am quite satisfied,” Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia,also a member of the GoM, said. He, however, did not specify the funding modalities.
The GoM, set up to study the bill has discussed all contentious issues, including the extent to which the state governments should contribute to make free and compulsory education available to every child.
“Some modifications have been done to the draft bill,” he said. Asked whether the Bill would be introduced in the coming session of Parliament, Alhuwalia said: “Yes I hope so.” The financial requirement for implementing the measures for seven years from 2008-09 to 2014-15 is estimated to be Rs2.28 lakh crore. The legislation would require an additional Rs12,000 crore annually during the remaining years of the 11th Plan as the balance would be met from the ongoing programme of Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan.
Mooted in 2006, the bill has been hanging in balance as the funding responsibility of the States and the Centre for the purpose has been the bone of contention.
The bill specifies the responsibility of teachers and schools besides provisions for protection of child rights and redressals of their grievances.
It also seeks to provide the right to children in the age group 6-14 years to get free education till completion of elementary education in their neighbourhood school. It stipulates duties and responsibilities of the government, local authorities and parents for providing free and compulsory education.
Private unaided schools will be under the ambit too as 25% seats will be reserved for poor children in their neighbourhood and the government would reimburse the money incurred.
The GoM, headed by HRD Minister Arjun Singh, met at his residence, nearly two months after the Cabinet referred the Bill to it. Apart from the HRD minister and Alhuwalia, finance minister P Chidambaram and Science and Technology minister Kapil Sibal are the other members of the GoM.