Education Current Affairs - 2019
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The Union Cabinet has approved creation of a single corpus fund non-lapsable known as Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK).
Under it, all proceeds of secondary and higher education cess will be credited and utilised for the government’s schemes in education sector.
Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK)
The funds arising from MUSK will be utilised for schemes in education sector, which will be available for benefit of students of secondary and higher education all over the country. It will be administered and maintained by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The MUSK will be maintained as a Reserve Fund in the non-interest bearing section of the Public Accounts of India. It will be operationalised as per the present arrangements under Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh (PSK) wherein the proceeds of cess are used for Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Schemes.
The expenditure on ongoing schemes of the HRD Ministry will be initially incurred from the gross budgetary support (GBS) in any financial year and the expenditure will be financed from MUSK only after the GBS is exhausted.
During the 10th Plan, an education cess of 2% was levied on all central taxes from 2004 to make available additional resources for basic education/elementary education to augment the existing budgetary resources. Later in 2007, additional cess of 1% on central taxes (called Secondary and Higher Education Cess) was levied through Finance Act, 2007 to give fillip for universalizing access to secondary education and expanding the reach of the higher education sector. In February 2016, HRD Ministry had sought the approval of the Department of Economic Affairs for creation of non-lapsable fund in the Public Account called MUSK.
The NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has announced partnership with three states each to radically transform their Health and Education sectors under its Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH) initiative.
The shortlisted states for transforming their health sector are Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka. Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha were selected for transforming their education sector.
NITI Aayog had invited all states and Union Territories to participate in its SATH initiative to transform Health and Education sectors in order to give major push to competitive, cooperative federalism. Under this initiative, a Program Management Unit will now be available in the six chosen States for a period of 30 months to push for efficiency and efficacy in governance structures and service delivery.
It is expected that these three years of focussed attention and support from NITI Aayog will lead to a marked transformation and provide a model for other States to replicate and adapt. It will be three-way partnership between NITI, State Governments and knowledge partner for each of the sectors is part of the SATH initiative of NITI Aayog.
Selection of States
These six states were chosen after a rigorous competitive process based on comprehensive metrics to determine potential for impact and likelihood of success. States had made presentations for each sector which was assessed by a committee comprising of senior members of NITI Aayog and Human Resources Development and Health ministries. The States had highlighted the initiatives undertaken by them and their willingness to accelerate improvement. On thorough technical evaluation, the chosen States have committed to time-bound, governance reforms in both sectors.
Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH) initiative
NITI Aayog is working to foster co-operative federalism by ranking states through health, water, education, and agricultural indices. The SATH initiative was launched to go beyond ranking states and to handhold them in improving their social sector indicators.
The vision of SATH initiative is to initiate transformation in the education and health sectors by providing technical support to states from NITI. It aims to identify and build three future ‘role model’ states for health and education sectors.
Under it, NITI will work in close collaboration with state machinery to design a robust roadmap of intervention, develop governance structure, set up monitoring and tracking mechanisms and provide support on a range of institutional measures to achieve the end objectives.
NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Union Government, providing both directional and policy inputs. It is essentially an advisory body that seeks to provide critical directional and strategic inputs across spectrum of key elements of policy to the centre.