23 Feb : President Pratibha Devisingh Patil has said Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which makes edu a fundamental right of every child in the age group of six to 14 years, was notified and will be effective from 1st April.
Patil said the Government is committed to bring a paradigm shift in the education sector based on expansion, inclusion and excellence and will soon set up an overarching body to regulate higher education and research in India.
“Government is also endeavouring to bring forward an appropriate legislation to facilitate participation of globally renowned and quality academic institutions in our higher education sector, and bringing in foreign education providers for vocational training and skill development,” the President said.
Underlining that investment in education is critical for accelerated inclusive growth, Patil said, Government has made substantial investments in primary education through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Midday Meal Programme.
It is also moving towards internalisation of education at the secondary level with the new Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan.
The President said a scheme to provide interest subsidy on educational loans taken by students from economically weak families has also been launched while the Sakshar Bharat campaign with special focus on female literacy has been started.
A scheme to assist State Governments in setting up 373 model colleges in educationally backward districts has also been approved, Patil said.
Besides, a national mission for education through ICT has been launched to provide broadband Internet connectivity to around 18,000 colleges and 400 universities in the country, she said.
President talks tough on Naxals
Terming the recent Maoist strike on a paramilitary camp in West Bengal as a “cowardly” act, President Pratibha Patil today made it clear that such “senseless violence” would strengthen the government’s resolve to tackle it with “added vigour”.
Addressing both Houses of Parliament on the first day of the Budget session, she said Left wing extremists are continuing to indulge in violence.
“Left wing extremists continue to indulge in senseless violence, as seen in their recent attacks in West Bengal where a large number of innocent lives have been lost. These cowardly acts strengthen our resolve to meet with added vigour the challenge posed by such violence,” Patil said.
She said the government has given an offer to Naxal groups to abjure violence and come for talks.Speaking on the overall security scenario of the country, the President said though the security situation has improved significantly in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in the North East, Left wing extremism continues to be a significant cause of concern.
However, she noted that infiltration of terrorists from across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir has gone up.
Condoling the 13th February Pune blast, she said, “We have to keep constant watch and innovate against global terrorist groups”.
The overall internal security, law and order, and the communal situation, she said, remained largely under control during 2009.