Ripun for new SSA funding pattern

GUWAHATI, April 11: The State Government has urged the Centre to reconsider the current pattern of Sarba Siksha Abhijan (SSA) funding and extension of the SSA programme for another five years for Asom. The State Government suggested the extension of the SSA up to 2015, which is scheduled to expire in 2010. A suggestion in this regard has been made by Asom Education Minister Ripun Bora at the concluding day of the two-day meeting of all education ministers at New Delhi.
The meeting was organized to discuss some crucial issues in connection with the 11th Five-Year Plan. The meeting was presided over by Union Human Resource Minister Arjun Singh and attended, among others, by Union Ministers of State for Education Md Ali Ashraf Fatmi and D Purendraswari.
Bora said, in Asom, which is a special category State, the current pattern of sharing of fund between the Centre and State Government is 50:50, which needs to be looked again. A close look of at the State Annual Plan will show that a major share of the Plan is invariably cornered by the education sector, he said, adding that in spite of that there is a wide financial gap resulting non-fulfilment many commitments made by the Government.
“It is, therefore, requested that the sharing pattern of fund for SSA should be in the ratio of 75:15:10 between the Centre, DoNER and the State Government,” he said in his speech, and hopes ‘a positive response’ from the Centre.
According to sources, the suggestion made by the Asom Education Minister got the support from his counterparts from the North-east and other States. Bora has also demanded to increase the number of seats in technical education at graduate and diploma levels. The number of seats at graduate level should be increased from 1,200 to 20,400 and at diploma level it should be increased from 1,800 to 9,000, he said.
“In technical education, Asom is lagging behind,” he said. The State has two engineering colleges and nine polytechnic institutes having many limited seats, he pointed out. “It is a matter of serious concern that quite a large number of students of the State in quest of technical education emigrate annually to various States of the country,” he said.
To be self-sufficient in the field of technical education in view of the growing demand, he urged the Centre to sanction Rs 1,225 crore for the setting up at least 20 engineering colleges and 15 polytechnic institutions in Asom, besides developing the existing technical institutions in the State. He also proposed to promote the Jorhat Science College into an Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Centre and providing status of a deem university to Cotton College.
The meeting also discussed the current scenario in the field of education and mid-day meal programme.
Bora later met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Human Resource Minister Arjun Singh separately, sources added.

The Sentinel,12. 04.2007