New Delhi: All private and special category schools are mandated to admit in Class 1 or below at least 25 per cent students belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Pokhriyal said the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act came into effect from April 1, 2010 and the Act makes elementary education a fundamental right of all children in the age group of 6-14 years. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! “Section 12 of the Act mandates all private aided, Special Category schools and private unaided schools to admit in Class 1 or below to the extent of at least 25 per cent of the strength of that class, children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups and provide free and compulsory education till its completion,” he said during Question Hour. The minister said the RTE Act under section 12 (2) also makes provision of reimbursement of expenditure to schools providing free and compulsory elementary education as specified in Section 12(1)(c). Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killed “The school shall be reimbursed expenditure so incurred by it to the extent of per-child expenditure incurred by the state, or the actual amount charged from the child; whichever is less, in such manner as may be prescribed. “Provided that where such school is already under obligation to provide free education to a specified number of children on account of it having received any land, building, equipment or other facilities, either free of cost or at a concessional rate, such schools shall not be entitled for reimbursement to the extent of such obligation,” he said. Pokhriyal said education is in the Concurrent List and majority of schools are under administrative control of states and union territories, therefore, it is for the State and UT administrations concerned to ensure proper implementation of the RTE Act, prescribe neighbourhood norms and mechanism for admissions in schools including per child costs eligible for reimbursement.
The EU comes into the picture as it imposed, in January this year, a ban on export of fish and fishery products from Sri Lanka as the country’s fishermen were violating the international laws. To have the ban lifted, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in the Sri Lankan government is implementing an action plan consisting of 57 activities. According to an official document, 36 activities were fulfilled by July end and the EU, at a meeting in Brussels to review the progress, had expressed satisfaction but pointed out that the amount of penalties had not been hiked. In September, it also reminded the Ministry for not having raised the amount. The Sri Lankan government will not make any complaint to the European Union (EU) about alleged poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters, even as it has decided to increase the amount of penalty for violation of fisheries laws in international waters, according to Rajitha Senaratne, Cabinet spokesperson.The decision of the government has been made as India is a “friendly neighbour,” the Minister has said, according to The Hindu newspaper. The issue came up before the Cabinet of the Sri Lankan government on Wednesday and it was decided to make the penalty five times the value of fish catch. The penalty would be determined, taking into account the size of vessel too. This would also cover import and export of fish.On the implication of the decision for alleged poaching by Indian fishermen invariably along the coast of the Northern Province, Dr. Senaratne told The Hindu that this would not be applicable as the fishermen were doing fishing in the “Sri Lankan waters” and the move pertained to the international waters.