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Centre clears 5,718 cr education scheme

  • The STARS programme will get $500 million financial support from the World Bank

The Union government on Wednesday cleared a 5,718 crore centrally sponsored scheme for improving education outcomes with World Bank aid in six states and announced that a similar programme will be rolled out in five other states.

The scheme aims to ensure that learning is based on understanding of the subject, that language learning will be the focus up to third standard and exams will be reformed, Union minister of information and broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said at a cabinet briefing. Students achieving minimum proficiency in languages and improvements in secondary school completion rate are also among the goals of the scheme.

The project titled Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) will get $500 million financial support from the World Bank. It will cover Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha, said Javadekar. “A similar programme with ADB (Asian Development Bank) cooperation will be rolled out in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Assam, and Tamil Nadu. This is an important milestone at the time the new education policy is being rolled out," the minister said. The programme seeks to help states in improving education and in better “labour market outcomes".

“There will be a separate assessment board or institution that will come into force. The programme is aided by the World Bank. The central government with World Bank aid will give (about) 3,700 crore and (about) 2,000 crore will come from states," said the minister.

The STARS programme builds on the long partnership between India and the World Bank for strengthening public school education and to support the country’s goal of providing ‘education for all’, Mint reported 28 June when the World Bank board cleared the financial assistance for the scheme.

The cabinet also gave in-principle clearance to the demerger of Nagarnar Steel Plant (NSP) from National Minerals Development Corporation (NMDC) Ltd and its strategic disinvestment. NSP is a 3 million tonne a year steel plant being set up by NMDC at Nagarnar in Chhattisgarh at a cost of 23,140 crore, according to an official statement.

The cabinet also cleared a plan for enhancing commercial viability of the existing reserves of Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Ltd.

The cabinet also approved a special package of 520 crore for five years to extend the National Rural Livelihoods Mission aimed at increasing household incomes in rural areas to the two newly created Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. This is expected to benefit over 1 million women, Javadekar said. The extension of the NRLM will ensure that “two-thirds of the rural families in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are covered under this programme," Javadekar said.


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