Crafted by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then NDA government had announced the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ to provide free and compulsory education to children between the ages of 6 to 14.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee died at 93 on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at AIIMS in New Delhi. During his tenure as the Prime Minister of India, Vajpayee took some key initiatives in the education sector.
Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari said, “Empowering the individual means empowering the nation. And empowerment is best served through rapid economic growth with rapid social change.”
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a dream project by Vajpayee govt
Launched in 2000-2001 by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then NDA government had announced the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ to provide free and compulsory education to children between 6 to 14 years. As per a statement by the Centre released in 2013, the school dropout has declined from 80 lakh in 2009 to 30 lakh in 2012 due to the success of the SSA. The net enrolment ratio at the primary level has also increased to 99.8 per cent since the launch of the scheme.
At present, there is 19.67 crore children enrolled in 14.5 lakh elementary schools in the country with 66.27 lakh teachers at the elementary level, as per SSA official website (data year).
The Vajpayee government formulated the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ on the line of District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) that was taken during 1993-94 to improve the condition of primary education system in the country. Slowly, in several phases, DPEP covered 18 states and 272 districts with 85 per cent of the total expenditure provided by the Central government. The programme was also funded by the World Bank, Department for International Development (DFID) and UNICEF. According to an assessment of DPEP, the programme has covered more than 50 million children by 2001.
Respected Source – Indianexpress.com
8 contributions by Atal Bihari Vajpayee towards making India better
Here’s a look at eight remarkable steps taken by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his tenure:
1. RAISING INDIA’S GDP
- He took India to the new heights by introducing economic reforms. Under his tenure from 1998 to 2004, India maintained a GDP rate of eight per cent, the inflation level came down to four per cent and foreign exchange reserves were flourishing
- Although India faced catastrophic events during his tenure, including earthquake (2001), two cyclones (1999 and 2000), a horrible drought (2002-2003), oil crises (2003), the Kargil conflict (1999), and a Parliament attack, yet he maintained a stable economy
2. INTRODUCTION TO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT
Besides raising India’s GDP to eight per cent in his tenure, he further introduced the Fiscal Responsibility Act which aimed to reduce the fiscal deficit and boost public-sector savings.
- Among the several milestones in his brief period of the ruling, privatisation was also appreciated
- Giving rise to private business in India, it reduced the government’s involvement in the industry
- Further, he formed a separate disinvestment ministry. The most important disinvestments were Bharat Aluminium Company (BALCO) and Hindustan Zinc, Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited and VSNL
4. THE RISE OF THE INDIAN TELECOM INDUSTRY
- His government introduced a revenue-sharing model under New Telecom Policy which helped telecom firms to get away with fixed license fees
- Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd was separately created to head over the services and policies
- To further enhance the telecom sector, he created Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal
- International telephone service Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd was ended
5. EDUCATION POLICY
- It was for the first time in India that elementary education became free for children aged 6-14 years
- It was launched in 2001 and brought a drastic change in the number of dropouts by 60 per cent
6. STRENGTHENED GLOBAL TIES
- Under his reign, India improved its trade and reduced territorial disputes with the People’s Republic of China
- In 2000, he invited former US President Bill Clinton, improving the bilateral ties after the Cold War
- He invited the then President Pervez Musharraf to India for a two-day Agra summit meeting from July 14-16, 2001, in order to discuss cross-border terrorism and Kashmir
- Moreover, Vajpayee gave a green signal to road connectivity between India and Pakistan with the inauguration of historic Delhi-Lahore Bus on February 19, 1999
7. SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
- Vajpayee passed the Chandrayan-1 project
On India’s 56th Independence Day, he said, “Our country is now ready to fly high in the field of science. I am pleased to announce that India will send her own spacecraft to the moon by 2008. It is being named Chandrayaan.
- He made India a nuclear weapon state. In 1998, India conducted five nuclear tests in one week
“We have the capacity for a big bomb now. Ours will never be weapons of aggression,” he said.
- The most ambitious road projects in India were launched by him, including the Golden Quadrilateral and the Pradhanmantri Gramin Sadak Yojna
- The Golden Quadrilateral made transportation easy, connecting metropolitan cities — Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai — through a network of highways
- Pradhanmantri Gramin Sadak Yojna connected distant villages across the country with a network of all-weather roads.
Respected Source – India Today