In a bid to break impasse with the Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) volunteers protesting in Bathinda, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday announced reviving of the centrally-sponsored EGS, alternative and innovative educators (AIE) and special trainers (STR) as 'special state-funded schemes' for a period of two years.
A decision was taken by Badal during a meeting with a delegation of the EGS volunteers' association led by president Madan Lal here. The chief minister gave the nod to revive these centrally-sponsored education schemes which were discontinued by the Congress-led UPA government in 2008, rendering thousands of volunteers enrolled under the EGS, AIE and STR schemes jobless.
The state government got into trouble when 14-month-old Eknoor Kaur Rooth, daughter of Kiranjit Kaur, one of the protesting EGS volunteers, died on February 6. Rooth had accompanied her mother in the protest and her condition deteriorated on February 3 after which she was taken to the civil hospital.
In Sunday's meeting, the CM also agreed in principle to the proposal of the association to allow these volunteers to clear the mandatory Teacher's Eligibility Test (TET) within two years to enable them to be appointed as regular teachers in schools. The CM also approved enhancing the monthly consolidated honorarium of the EGS volunteers who had earlier worked under the EGS in the state and had cleared the ETT/B Ed from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 per month. Likewise, the EGS volunteers who have not yet cleared the ETT/B Ed would now be taken in the revived EGS with a consolidated honorarium of Rs 2,500 per month till he/she cleared the ETT/ B Ed. Consequent upon clearing the ETT their honorarium would also be hiked to Rs 5,000 per month.
Any person who had earlier worked in the STR scheme would be taken in the revived STR scheme with a consolidated honorarium of Rs 5,000 from Rs 2,000 per month.