RTE provides free and compulsory education for children aged between 6 and 14 years, therefore pre-schools should also be brought under it
In order to ensure better quality of early learning among anganwadi children, educationist and non-governmental organisations says that the Right to Education (RTE), which provides free and compulsory education, should be extended to the pre-school children.
Farida Lambey, educationist and RTE activist says, “According to the Article 45(A) of the directive principles all children below the age of 14 years are entitled for free and compulsory education. There is no outer limit mentioned and hence it is a fundamental right. However, RTE provides for the children between six and 14 years. This is the problem. Pre-schools should be brought under RTE.” Mrs Lambey is also the co-founder of NGO Pratham.
Government’s anganwadi programme, started in 1975 under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), focuses on child’s education and health related programme. Experts say that children have an ability to grasp the concepts quickly and hence RTE will ensure better learning of these children in their primary standards.
Currently, RTE is applicable to the children of the age of six to 14 years, which is from class one to eight. Anganwadi cover children up to the age of four years under ICDS of the ministry of child and women development.
National Advisory Council (NAC), recently, suggested to the ministry of human resource and development (HRD) to extend RTE to anganwadi programme.
“Anganwadi takes care of the pre-schooling for children up to four years. This is the age where there is maximum mental development and child learns concepts such shape, size, colours, easily. ICDS is under the centre government, while RTE is under state. So bringing pre-schooling under RTE will ensure better education for all the children,” says Shobha Murthy, founder of NGO Aarambh, which provides education to children from the slums of Navi Mumbai.
Experts point out that widening RTE to pre-school will also mean increasing the required budget and infrastructure along with human resource. However, some believe that only extending RTE to anganwadi programme will hardly have any impact of child’s learning development. “RTE will not make any difference. The biggest problem is the school drop out rate. Children come to anganwadi for the meal provided to them. Also they undergo informal pre-schooling,” says a child development programme officer from West Bengal.
An official from ministry of HRD says that there was task force which was set up for considering widening RTE to anganwadi programmes. However, a lot of consideration and consultation is required with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Nothing can be said at this juncture, he said.
The stock exchanges had asked the finance ministry to abolish STT, arguing that such a step would help boost investments in the stock market and promote an equity culture in the country
New Delhi: The government today said it has no plans to lower the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) levied on equity trades, even as collections dipped by about 18% drop during the April-October period this fiscal, reports PTI.
“No, Sir,” minister of state for finance SS Palanimanickam said in a reply to a query on whether the government proposes to lower STT in the country.
He, however, acknowledged that STT collections dropped during the April-October 2011-12, period.
Collections from STT declined by 17.9% to Rs2,958 crore in the April-October period of the current fiscal from Rs3,602 crore in the corresponding year-ago period, the minister said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
The stock exchanges had asked the finance ministry to abolish STT, arguing that such a step would help boost investments in the stock market and promote an equity culture in the country.
The bourses also sought simpler compliance procedures and the imposition of lower costs on brokers to facilitate greater retail participation in the market.
The government had introduced STT in 2004 on transactions related to different types of securities. At present, the rate varies from 0.025% to 0.25%, depending upon the type of security traded and transaction—whether sale or purchase.
The automated collection of toll promises to eliminate waiting time and ease congestion at highway toll plazas
The National Highways Authority of India proposes to replace manual toll collection at highway toll plazas with electronic toll collection (ETC) system. CRISIL Research said it expects this changeover to eliminate waiting time for vehicles and save fuel worth Rs1,000 crore per year. The savings in fuel will far outweigh the initial cost of Rs100 per vehicle that the system requires from vehicle owners.
“Currently, there are close to 525 toll plazas, operating on national and state highways in India. Over 20,000 vehicles cross these plazas daily, each queuing up for approximately 5-10 minutes awaiting their turn to pay the toll fare. Each vehicle consumes almost 0.5-1.0 litre of fuel in an hour. Collectively, these vehicles spend around 1,800-3,600 hours at toll plazas, which accounts for a daily wastage of Rs3-6 crore and annually, Rs1,000 crore,” says Ajay D’souza, Head, CRISIL Research.
The system is also equipped to detect defaults in toll collection which occur either due to insufficient funds in a toll account or a faulty OBU by activating an alarm to inform authorities, without stopping the flow in traffic.
“Apart from reducing fuel wastage, the ETC system can plug leakages in toll collection. Toll leakages occur when a vehicle does not pay the requisite toll or when booth operators under-report collections. Based on the current industry estimate of about 10% leakage, annual losses for road developers are estimated to be approximately Rs1,200 crore. An automated tolling system can effectively address this area of grave concern for road developers and lenders with exposure to road projects,” said Prasad Koparkar, Head, CRISIL Research.
The system will require the government to invest in two major system components to enable collections to flow to toll operators – a central database where the clearing-house will store account information, and networks that will connect toll plazas to the database. Revenues from tolled stretches will flow directly to the involved operators via the central clearing-house. The system is likely to come up in a phased manner, with pilot projects on dense highway stretches.
The ETC system, based on radio frequency identification (RFID), comprises a wireless on-board unit (OBU) fitted into a vehicle and a stationary roadside unit (RSU) placed at the toll plaza. The OBU is, by design, compatible at toll stations across the country. The RSU can sense an OBU even as a vehicle moves at 50 km per hour, and automatically deduct toll from the owner’s pre-paid toll account with a central clearing-house. The automated collection promises to eliminate waiting time and ease congestion at toll plazas.