Children between 6 and 14 years to get free, compulsory education

The NDA Government has decided to ensure free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years as part of the statutory provisions of fundamental rights.

The decision will be implemented by way of a Constitution (93rd amendment) Bill 2001 leading to the addition of a new clause to Article 21. The new (21-A) clause will spell out constitutional guarantee for free and compulsory education for the children across the country.

A draft legislation related to this was cleared today by the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister AB Vajpayee. The Bill is to be introduced in the Winter session of Parliament.

The Bill also seeks to redraft Article (45) of the Constitution wherein the State shall endeavour to give early childhood care and education to all children until they complete the age of 6 years. The proposed law will make it the fundamental duty of every citizen, either a parent or guardian, to provide opportunities of education to all children from 6 to 14 years of age.

In another decision, the Cabinet approved the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojna (SGRY) entailing an annual outlay of Rs 10,000 crore. The centrally sponsored scheme provides for cost sharing between the Union Government and the States in the ratio of 75:25. As regards the Union Territories, the Centre will provide 100 per cent funds. Briefing mediapersons, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan termed the two Cabinet decisions as historic.

Other decisions include approval to release of additional installment of dearness allowan-ce (DA) to Central Government employees and dearness relief (DR) to pensioners due from July 1, 2001. The 2 per cent increase will be calculated on the basis of 45 per cent each for the DA and DR. The combined impact of the hike is estimated to be around Rs 790.86 crore per annum.

The Cabinet also okayed two bilateral pacts - one on co-operation in public health and medical science with Cyprus and another on food security in Lesotho.

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Referred by:Benjamin P Kaila
Published on:sep 19, 2001
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