September 18, 2008 1:33:35 am
Attempts are on to build a consensus on the Right to Education (RTE) Bill even as it is pending discussion with a Group of Ministers (GoM). In a bid to resolve the funding formula issue which still remains a hitch, modalities to involve the Finance Commission in the funding process are being considered.
The financial requirement for implementing the measure for seven years from 2008-09 to 2014-15 is estimated to be Rs 2.28 lakh crore. Questions have been repeatedly raised on the funding model and the share of the Centre and states. Several discussions have been held with the Planning Commission and the states on the issue.
The Cabinet had referred the long-pending Bill to a GoM last month after the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry had raised concerns over the funding of the legislation that promises free and compulsory education to all children aged between 6 to 14. Leaving nothing to chance and in a hurry to place the Bill before Parliament in the next session under all circumstances, the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry is quietly working at resolving all the knotty issues delaying the RTE legislation. The points of contention also include the inclusion or exclusion of private sector schools and the danger of the Bill getting mired in legislations by aggrieved parties.