A loan of $450 million has been approved by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for post-disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation in Uttarakhand. The WB and the ADB will provide $250 million and $200 million, respectively. Both the banks are working on identification and implementation of the project components on which the $450 million will be spent.
How these funds from WB and ADB will be utilized?
Utilization of WB Funds:
Loan from the WB will be used to build bridges and village roads that were damaged during the calamity. A significant portion of funds will also be spent towards strengthening of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) by capacity building. The State disaster management system will conduct river morphology studies and will also install an early warning system and disaster risk mitigation system. A part of WB funds will be spent on housing projects. It will fund rebuilding of houses that were damaged during disaster.
Utilization of ADB Funds:
The ADB funds will be used for four components:
- Reconstruction of State highways and major district roads.
- Reconstruction of properties belonging to the tourism department which were damaged in the disaster.
- Construction of a helipad network in the State as helicopters helped in saving thousands of lives during the disaster.
- Restoration of the urban drinking water supply which was disrupted after the disaster.
The President of India Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill. With this the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill became an Act. The Lokayukta Act is aimed at curbing corruption in the Uttarakhand state. The Act has under its purview, the Chief Minister, ministers, MLAs and government servants, including IAS and IPS officers, will come under the ambit of the Lokayukta. Former chief ministers, former ministers and retired officers will also be within the ambit of the Lokayukta. However, the judges of the Uttarakhand High Court will are not under the purview of Lokayukta.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for reforming the state higher education system.
Key features of RUSA in the 12th Five-year Plan
- RUSA will have a financial outlay of Rs 22,855 crore out of which Rs 16,227 crore will be borne by the Centre.
- Besides this, Centre will also allocate Rs 1800 crore for the existing scheme Sub-Mission polytechnics.
- Total financial contribution from Centre, including the existing scheme of polytechnics, will be Rs 18,027 crore.
- Ratio of Centre-State funding would be 90:10 for North-Eastern States, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and 65:35 for other States and Union Territories.
- Spread over two plan periods, RUSA aims for improving access, equity and quality in the state higher education system.
- It also aims to incentivize States to step up plan investments in higher education.
What are the main objectives of RUSA?
The key objectives of RUSA are:
- Improve the overall quality of existing state higher educational institutions by ensuring adherence to the prescribed norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework.
- Rectify regional imbalances in access to higher education through high quality institutions in rural and semi urban areas as well as creating opportunities for students from rural areas to get access to better quality institutions.
- Establish higher education institutions in unserved and underserved areas.
- Improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities to socially disadvantaged communities; encouraging inclusion of women, minorities, SC/ST and OBCs as well as differently-abled persons.
- Ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions and ensure capacity building at all levels
- Build an enabling atmosphere in higher educational institutions to devote themselves to research and innovation.
- Integrate skill developments efforts of the government with the conventional higher education system through optimum interventions.
Future grants to RUSA would be performance based and outcome dependent. Commitment by States and institutions to certain academic, administrative and governance reforms will be a precondition for receiving funding.
As per the Census data, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with their highest under-14 child population will be the major contributor to the workforce, with developed States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu reaching or already crossed their peaks.
The census shows that India’s demography is undergoing two simultaneous and opposing changes.
- A decline in absolute child population under the age of 14 is being witnessed States like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh as was expected due to decrease in female fertility that began in the 70s in the southern States. Although, other States like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Uttarakhand have shown small rise in child population, in the total child population falling.
- However, the share of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, that still have high fertility, has increased acutely. One in every three children under the age of 14 in India comes from Bihar or Uttar Pradesh.
As per the Census data:
- U.P. with 35.69% and Bihar with 40.1% of its population under the age of 14, have much higher figure than India as a whole which has 31% of its population under the age of 14.
- While the rest of the country has witnessed a decrease in the proportion of its population that is under 14, for Bihar, this proportion has surged by over 10% points since 2001 which makes it the only State that has added more persons under the age of 14 than over the age of 60.
- Developed States are hitting their peak working age populations, and are ageing faster than the rest of the country.
- At present, Tamil Nadu has the highest proportion of its people in the working age population with 66.66% of three residents of the State are between the ages of 15 and 59.
- India as a whole has 8.5% of its population over 60.
- Tamil Nadu and Kerala have older populations; nearly 13% of Kerala is over the age of 60.
What does the data suggest towards policy formulation?
The two processes taken together indicated that today’s children, who come mostly from U.P. and Bihar, will form the workforce of the future. This is of major significance for State and Centre policy. It means that northern States will have to spend more on school education, while southern States can begin to focus more on quality. The other implication is that skill development is going to be critical for India’s demographic dividend to yield.