Rajya Sabha Current Affairs - 2020

Parliamentary Panel: More than 40% of schools are without power and playgrounds

A Parliamentary panel set up on education submitted its report to Rajya Sabha on 2020-21 demand for grants. The report said that shortfalls in budget funds has led to critical infrastructure gaps.

Key findings of the report

The Panel in its report says that more than 27% cuts have been made in budget allocations for school education. The report also says that only 56% of schools have electricity. The lowest rates were found in Manipur and Madhya Pradesh. Also, only 57% of schools have playgrounds. A boundary wall which is essential for safety of students and school property was not found in 40% of the schools.

Recommendations

The panel recommended that the Ministry of HRD shall collaborate with Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to make developments. The scheme shall also be used to provide renewable energy to give access of power to schools. According to the report, the performance of the schools were better where the above facilities were implemented.

The Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019 introduced

On March 2, 2020, the HRD Minister introduced the Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha. It was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2019 and was passed.

Key Features of the Bill

The bill aims to convert deemed Sanskrit universities to central Sanskrit universities. They are Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi, Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati and Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi.

The Universities will work towards promoting the knowledge of Sanskrit, train manpower in preservation of Sanskrit and other allied subjects and also make provisions for integrated courses in social sciences, humanities and sciences.

Powers and Functions

The Powers and Functions of the universities are as follows

  • To prescribe courses of study and conduct training programmes
  • To provide facilities through distant education programmes
  • To confer autonomous status on college and institutions.

Authorities of the Universities

The Universities will also have a court to review policies, an executive council that will create academic posts and appoint teaching faculties. It will also hold a board of studies that will approve research subjects.