Din in Assembly over Assam category

Himanta weighs venture future

By A STAFF REPORTER
  • Published 22.07.16
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Guwahati, July 21: The Assam government will need an additional revenue of Rs 1,100 crore if it has to provincialise all the venture schools in the state, education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the Assembly today.

Provincialised educational institutions are those aided by the state government and their staff are government employees. Venture schools are institutions set up by private parties to fulfil the educational needs of a particular area and community. Such schools do not receive regular and direct financial assistance from the government.

Responding to a proposal moved by Congress MLA Abdul Khaleque in the House that the government must provincialise all venture schools, including those not eligible under the relevant act, for the sake of right to education for all, Sarma said the government would have to sit together with the Opposition parties and other organisations to chalk out a roadmap to concede to such demand.

He said provincialisation of all venture schools would have a huge financial implication and the government would not be able to initiate such development without generating additional revenue. "Soon after the ensuing budget session of the Assembly, the government will hold an all-party meeting to discuss the issue in detail. Since the government will require a huge amount of money to provincialise all venture schools, the Opposition parties and other organisations will have to support the ruling party in its initiatives to generate more revenue which may include levying additional tax on certain items," Sarma said.

He said the government has no problem of funds when it comes to provincialisation of schools found eligible under the Assam Venture Educational Institutions (Provincialisation of Services) Act, 2011. Now, since the demand for provincialisation of all venture schools has been raised for the sake of education and on humanitarian grounds, the government will first have to explore options for revenue generation. He said the government would require an additional revenue of Rs 1,100 crore to execute the task.

In 2013, Dispur had lifted the nearly two-decade-long moratorium on provincialisation of educational institutions in Assam by publishing the first list of schools and colleges that would be provincialised under the act.

The legislation, passed by the Assembly in 2012, seeks to provincialise the state's venture educational institutions that came into existence and got recognition or permission for affiliation on or before January 1, 2006. These institutions are usually of vernacular medium and receive few fringe benefits from the government.

Sources said 7,371 lower primary (LP) schools, 4,732 upper primary (UP) schools, 1,474 high schools/high madarsas, 68 higher secondary schools, 12 junior colleges and 134 colleges have so far been found eligible for provincialisation. Till date, over 5,000 LP schools and more than 2,000 UP schools have been provincialised. The government is provincialising another 2,000-plus LP schools and nearly 3,000 UP schools.

Under the act, the government aims to provincialise the services of different categories of employees, both teaching and non-teaching, who are serving in non-provincialised (popularly known as venture) educational institutions in the state in a phased manner.

Sarma said if the government strictly adheres to the rules and provisions of the act, it could reject many venture schools from the ambit of provincialisation. "Now since the demand has come to provincialise all for the sake of education and on humanitarian ground, the government will sit together with all stake holders, including all political parties, to sort out the issue," he said.

Khaleque later told this correspondent outside the Assembly that many venture schools in his remote and underdeveloped Jania constituency in Barpeta district were doing a wonderful job in spreading the light of education. "Teachers of such schools face a bleak future as their jobs are not provincialised. There will be many such schools in other constituencies in the state. So we demand that the government provincialise all such venture schools for a better and bright future in the field of education," he added.