HRD Minister Arjun Singh got a political backing from the state education ministers on Tuesday for restoring the Centre-State share for funding for Sarva Siksha Abhiyan to 75:25 ratio. From this financial year, the states and the Centre has to equally bear the financial burden for running the scheme.
Singh, while inaugurating state education minister’s conference, said that he was in favour of Centre providing 75 per cent funds. He had earlier written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to restore the ratio, as states don’t have resources to provide 25 per cent additional funds. "States with its meagre financial resources cannot pool additional funds for the programme," said a state education minister.
The HRD minister was also backed by Planning Commission, member, Balchandra Mungerkar on the issue even though he admitted that reversing the government decision would be a difficult task. "Government wants to increase central assistance for secondary and higher education and therefore, Central share under SSA has been reduced," he said.
Arjun Singh also announced that from July 1, 2007, the responsibility of authentication of education certificates would be handed over the state governments. "This is being done so that the students don’t have to travel to Delhi for this routine work," Singh said, while asking states to put in place all systems by end of June.
The minister also clarified the Centre government’s stand on OBC quota issue saying all legal options were being looked into to resolve the issue at the earliest. He also reminded the states to enact state specific laws to implement the 93rd amendment in the Constitution enabling reservation for OBCS/SCs and STs. Only six states, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttranchal have enacted such laws so far.
He also urged the state governments to set up Councils for Higher Education as early as possible. So far, only Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu has set up these councils.