Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday that the human resources development (HRD) ministry would be granted an allocation of Rs231,000 crore over the next three years to set up infrastructure for implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
''The HRD minister has said Rs231,000 crore will be required in the next three years for setting up schools, appointment of teachers and building infrastructure. I have said the money will be provided,'' Mukherjee said at a seminar on 'Economic vision of the Indian National Congress' in Kolkata.
Mukherjee's comments come after of a recent government decision to start a nationwide consultation process with stakeholders to overcome teething troubles in implementing the RTE Act. The first meeting in this regard will be held on 14 August, in which all issues pertaining to implementation of the law will be discussed, HRD minister Kapil Sibal had told reporters earlier.
Mukherjee also said that the centre would provide teeth to the right to health and right to food acts through a legal enactment. He said providing such rights and budgetary support to implement those programmes was made possible because of the economic growth that India had achieved over the past few years. ''It was not possible in the eighties (when also he was the finance minister). But now, I am confident of providing budgetary support for bringing about an all-inclusive growth,'' he said.
The government is also determined to give 25 kilos of rice or wheat to the below poverty line (BPL) families at a price of Rs3 per kilo irrespective of the market rates, he added.
The finance minister arrived in Kolkata a day after announcing a spate of initiatives in Dhaka to enhance economic ties between India and Bangladesh. During his Bangladesh visit, India on Saturday inked a $1 billion soft loan agreement with that country, which is the biggest it has offered to a foreign country. The billion dollar loan is being offered at 1.75 per cent interest and will be repayable over a 20-year span.