Kerala Current Affairs - 2020

World Bank Group Approves USD 500 Million under STARS Program

On 28th June 2020, the World Bank Group has announced that a loan of USD 500 million (approx Rs 3700 crore) was approved by its Board of Executives on 24th June 2020 for improving the quality and governance of school education system in India. The loan approved will benefit 10 million teachers and 250 million school students across 1.5 million schools in 6 states of India. The loan was approved as a part of the STARS Program. The 6 Indian States are Rajasthan, Odisha, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

About the Loan

The loan of USD 500 million will be sanctioned by the lending arm of the World Bank Group- International Bank for Reconstruction and Development(IBRD). Including a grace period of 5 years, the loan has a final maturity of 14.5 years. With this loan of USD 500 million, the World Billion Group has approved total financial assistance of more than USD 3 billion for improving the education system in India to date.

STARS Program

STARS stands for Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program. Since 1994 the program has helped in establishing a long partnership between India and the World Bank. Through the program, the World Bank Group has provided greater flexibility to the vision of the Indian Government to provide ‘Education for All’. The Government of India has made significant strides in its vision over the years as the number of students going to school has increased to 248 million from 219 million between the 2004-05 to 2018-19 period.

The program will have a series of reform initiatives that will help in addressing the leaning outcome challenges that exist in the educational system in rural parts of the country.

Job Gaurantee Scheme for Urban Poor to be launched by Jharkhand Government

The state government of Jharkhand is likely to become the second state after Kerala in the country to launch a job guarantee scheme that will be on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA). The scheme unlike MNREGA (which focuses on providing a 100-day job for the Rural poor), will focus on providing 100-day work for the unskilled workers living in the urban areas of the state.

The scheme aimed to enhance the livelihood security for the urban poor will be named Mukhyamantri SHRAMIK (Shahri Rozgar Manjuri For Kamgar). The scheme is awaiting approval of the state cabinet.

Ayyankali Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme (AUEGS) is the 100-day employment guarantee scheme of the Kerala Government for urban poor.

How the Scheme will be different from MNREGA?

On 21st June 2020, the Urban Development Secretary of Jharkhand has informed the media that the scheme will also have a provision under for unemployment allowance. This allowance will only be applicable when if a local body fails to provide a job within 15 days to the unskilled worker.

As per information provided in media, for the first 30 days a beneficiary of the scheme will be entitled to one-fourth of the wages as unemployment allowance, while if the local body fails to provide job during the next 30 days then the beneficiary will be provided with half of the total 100 days work wage entitled.