Mr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank,’ the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister recently held a meeting with the Education Ministers of all the states of India with the help of Video Conference. They discussed the steps that should be taken so that the process of education could be smoothened for the young students once the lockdown is lifted.
One of the important points that was discussed again and again in this meeting was what are the ways to deal with those Board papers which are yet to be conducted and how the evaluation of those papers are supposed to be carried out which have already taken place.
The Union HRD minister has made an appeal to all the State Education ministers that they should order to start the evaluation process of those papers of their respective state boards that have already been conducted and are pending checking due to the sudden announcement of nationwide lockdown. He also requested the Education Ministers that they should extend help to the CBSE Board in order to carry out the paper evaluation in their states respectively.
In this meeting, the Union Minister also announced that the Scheme of the Mid- day Meal has been extended. Every year the Center allocates cooking costs so that the purchase of essential food items such as vegetables, spices, oils and pulses could be procured. The Minister stated that the government has enhanced the cooking costs from Rs 7300 crore to Rs 8100 crores owing to the COVID- 19 lockdown. The amount has been incremented by 10.99 percent.
The Education Ministers have also been informed by the HRD Minister that the norms of Samagra Siksha have been relaxed. Further, the states have also been allowed to spend the previous year’s balance which stands at around Rs 6300 crore. Apart from that, the Government would also be issuing an ad- hoc grant of approximately Rs 4450 crore which is for the first quarter.
The states have been requested to immediately transfer the money amount that had been released under Samagra Siksha to the State Implementation Committee so that they can utilize it properly. With this, the government would get a chance to release the next installment soon.
During this video conference, the Union HRD Minister also made this revelation that after the Ministry of HRD made a request, the Ministry of Home Affairs has made a relaxation in the rules of lockdown so that bookstores could be allowed to remain open for some time. This would allow the students to carry on their studies by availing required books.