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Dispur proposes to levy cess to bear extra burden



GUWAHATI, Feb 27: The Assam government has proposed to levy education cess on certain goods and services to bear the cost of provincialisation of schools and teachers’ posts in future.

A White Paper on status of provincialisation of services of employees of educatiol institutions says the State government will have to generate additiol funds to the tune of Rs 138 crores every year if it goes to provincialise all schools and services of teachers eligible for provincialisation under Assam Venture Educatiol Institutions (Provincialisation of Service) Act, 2011.

The White Paper on status of provincialisation of services of employees of educatiol institutions placed before Assam Assembly on Monday morning stated that the State government cannot take the burden of excess cost of provincialisation. The government will have to create a pool of funds from various sources.  It says even though there were 6,608 institutions eligible as per the provisions of Provincialisation Act, 2011, these have not yet been provincialised. There are 33,668 employees under 6,608 institutions who are also awaiting provincialisation under the same Act.

The Sonowal government has presented the White Paper before it tables a new bill in the House on March 4 to replace Assam Venture Educatiol Institutions (Provincialisation of Services) Act, 2011, which was declared constitutiolly invalid by Gauhati High Court in September last year.  Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the proposed new legislation would seek to address the hurdles before provincialisation of venture schools.

The White Paper said that services of 21,957 employees under elementary education, 16,721 under secondary education and 2,980 under higher education were provincialised under the Provincialisation Act 2011. There are, however, reports that enrollment in these schools after provincialisation has declined. The White Paper has mentioned that newly pronvincialised schools where enrollment is less than the prescribed rate, need to be merged with other schools.

The State government is currently spending Rs 1,284 crore every year for schools provincialised under the 2011 Act.

In the White Paper, it has been mentioned that the Provincialisation Act 2011 had violated norms in at least nine laws ected by the Centre. It sidelined the need for reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, UGC norms for qualification of teachers and some provisions in the Right to Education Act, 2009.

The White Paper says that the proposed new legislation would impose a blanket ban on provincialisation of educatiol institutions which were not recognized or received permission or concurrence upto last class before January 1, 2006. The new legislation will seek to do away with all lacue of the earlier legislation to ensure a better future of the teaching community.

Provincialisation is one the major issues and challenges faced by the present government as well as its predecessor. Thousands of teachers have been hitting the streets to pressurize Dispur to provincialise their schools and services. There have also been reports of a few teachers committing suicide, fed up with inordite delay in provincialisation of their services.