6 Nov : Giving a boost to school education, the Centre has proposed to set up 6,000 model schools which would match the standards of the Kendriya Vidyalayas in terms of infrastructure and other facilities.
A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Thursday approved the proposal to set up the model schools at the block level at an estimated cost of Rs 9,321 crore during the 11th Plan period.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made an announcement to this effect during his Independence Day speech last year.
The cost sharing pattern would be 75 percent for the Centre and 25 percent for the state governments. The Centre’s share in the total expenditure comes to around Rs 7,457 crore.
In the first phase, 2,500 schools would be set up through the state governments in educationally-backward blocks, Minister of State in PMO Prithviraj Chavan told reporters at New Delhi on Thursday.
"The model schools will have infrastructure and facilities at least of the standards of the Kendriya Vidyalayas," he said, adding that the pupil-teacher ratio and curriculum would also match the standards of the Central Schools.
As per the scheme prepared by the HRD Ministry, each block would have a model school which would look at comprehensive development of children.
The schools would give equal importance to curricular and extra-curricular activities including games, music, dance and arts.
The scheme will be implemented throughout the country except in six poll-bound states where it will be enforced after the poll process was completed.
ICPs to come up at border entry points
In a bid to provide hassle-free trans-border movement, the Centre has decided to construct Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) at identified entry points from four neighbouring countries and set up a Land Port Authority to build and manage them.
The ICPs would come up at 13 entry points at Attari-Wagah on the Pakistan border, Raxaul on the Nepal border, Moreh at the Myanmar border and Petrapole at the Bangladesh border.
A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved setting up of the ICPs on the land borders of the country at a total cost of Rs 635 crore, Minister of State in PMO Prithviraj Chavan told reporters at New Delhi on Thursday.
Like airports, the ICPs would be a sanitised zone, with dedicated passenger and cargo terminals, comprising adequate customs and immigration facilities, security and scanning equipment and health and quarantine facilities.
Passenger amenities like waiting areas, restaurants, rest-rooms, duty-free shops, parking warehousing, container yards, banks and financial services and all other state-of-the art modern facilities would be part of these ICPs.
In order to implement the project, the CCEA also approved the setting up of a Land Port Authority of India to undertake the construction, management and maintenance of ICPs for which a bill would be introduced in Parliament, Chavan said.
Ceiling for productivity-linked award for port workers raised
The government has increased the ceiling for payment of productivity-linked award for port and dock workers, a decision that will benefit about 66,000 employees.
"The Union Cabinet gave its approval for paying Productivity-Linked Reward to port and dock Workers/employees /officers as per the increased ceiling limit of wage at Rs 3,500 per month from the year 2006-07 till 2009-10," Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan said.
The decision of the government to raise the wage ceiling for productivity-linked reward, he said, will benefit about 66,000 port and dock workers.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved capital dredging for approach channel and berth basin of International Container Trans-shipment Terminal at Vallarpadam in Cochin Port at an estimated cost of Rs 381.25 crore.
Of the total cost, Rs 297.42 crore will be provided by the central grants and Rs 83.83 crore as loan assistance, Chavan said.The capital dredging proposal seeks to increase the draft to 14.5 meter at Vallarpadam in Cochin port. Govt approves Rs 350-cr biotech public pvt partnership scheme In a bid to boost discovery and innovation in the biotech sector, the government approved a public private partnership programme earmarking a budgetary support of Rs 350 crore in the 11th five year plan.
"The Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP) is an advanced technology science scheme envisaged as a government partnership with industries for support on cost sharing basis for high risk discovery and innovation," Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithvraj Chavan told reporters after a meeting of the CCEA.
He said the programme would also go for accelerated technology development especially for futuristic areas.
"An amount of Rs 350 crore has been earmarked for the scheme during the 11th Plan," Chavan said.
The scheme is aimed at increasing competitiveness of Indian industry in new and futuristic technologies and enhance ownership of IP in these areas, he added.
"This will also help in addressing national unmet technological needs in agriculture, human health, animal productivity, energy and environment where expected social and economic impact is high," Chavan said.
The programme will also help fulfill biotech strategy objectives of 30 percent of Department of Biotechnology’s R&D investment in partnership with industry.
The scheme provides for a government contribution of 30-50 percent to the industry for discovery linked innovation, he said, adding support would be provided only for futuristic areas, transformational technology and product development for public good.
Besides, Chavan said a meeting of the Union Cabinet approved the National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP), which is aimed at strengthening and integration of in-situ (protection of endangered species in its natural habitat) and ex-situ (protection of endangered species in relocation in a new habitat).
NBAP will also augment natural resources base and its sustainable utilisation, ensuring inter and intra-generational equity, he added.
The plan will regulate introduction of invasive alien species and their management, besides undertaking assessment of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change and desertifications.
It will also undertake a host of other steps such as development and integration of biodiversity databases, strengthening implementation of policy, legislative and administrative measures for biodiversity conservation and management.