Govt to appoint education panel

Addressing the nation, after unfurling the national flag at the historic Red Fort on the occasion of the country’s 65th Independence Day, the prime minister said as the vocational education and skill development acquired new importance and needed “major changes”, “the government has decided to appoint the commission to make suggestions for improvements at all levels of education”.

Unveiling the government plan to universalise secondary education, as it did in case of elementary education through the Right to Education Act, he said: “Today every citizen has a right to elementary education. We are now considering universalisation of secondary education.”

As per RTE, education is free and compulsory upto eighth standard. Universalisation of secondary education will make it free and compulsory upto Class X.

Noting that government had emphasised on education in the 11th Five Year Plan, Singh said similar priority would be given to the health sector in the 12th Five Year Plan. He said that the government would set up the National Development Council.

Holding that health insurance for workers in the unorganised sector was a priority, Singh said government would  endeavour to cover as many workers as possible under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, which was introduced in 2008.

The prime minister said that government would increase investments on physical infrastructure in the 12th Five-Year Plan, starting next year, with special emphasis on connecting remote and rural parts of India through rail and road.

The Planning Commission envisions doubling the investment in infrastructure sectors to $1 trillion (about Rs 45,00,000 crore) during the 12th Five-Year Plan.

Calling for a second Green Revolution to increase farm production and control rising food prices, the prime minister assured farmers that the government would take steps in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) to ensure easy access to fertilizers, seeds and credit and boost irrigation facilities to reduce dependence on monsoon.

Singh said an environmental assessment and monitoring authority would work for streamlining the process of giving green clearances.

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