Govt's mid-day meal benefited 11 crore children in 2009-10

     The Government on Tuesday stated that its Mid-day meal scheme has been able to benefit about 11 crore children across the country in the last fiscal (2009-10). "During 2009-10, about 11 crore children were benefited by the Mid-day meal scheme, " the Govt. has revealed it through the UPA-II's annual report card while highlighting its works and initiatives in the Education Sector. The Government also informed that it has decided to provide full interest subsidy to poor students, whose parental income is limited to Rs.4.5 lakh per annum, on education loans taken by them to pursue technical and professional courses. Mentioning about Govt.'s performance in Education sector, the executive summary of the "Report to the People" stated: "The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 was enacted in August 2009. Notifications have been issued for the enforcement of the Constitution (86th Amendment) Act and the RTE Act with effect from 1st April 2010." "In 2009-10, till 31st December 2009, 7400 new primary schools and 11847 upper primary schools were opened, 35427 teachers appointed, 9708 additional classrooms constructed, 26.62 lakh teachers provided in-service training and 9.54 crore children provided textbooks." "The Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan was launched in March 2009 with the objective of improving access to secondary education. During 2009-10, clearance was given to setting up 2478 new schools and improving 6998 existing schools," the report informs. "A scheme for the establishment and management of girls' hostels for students in the educationally backward blocks has also been launched. During 2009-10, approval has been given to set up 379 such hostels in 11 states," the report states. Mentioning about Govt.'s initiative in ensuring transformation in the education sector, the reports states: "It has been decided to replace the present system of awarding marks by grades in all subjects in the Class X Board examination conducted by CBSE in 2010." "The National Literacy Mission has been recast as Saakshar Bharat. To reduce gender disparity in literacy from 21% to 10%, six crore beneficiaries, out of the total target of seven crore, will be women," it further states. Among other initiatives by the UPA-II Govt., the report mentions: "Sixteen Central universities were established, including conversion of three State universities in the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand into Central universities, under the Central Universities Act, 2009. Fourteen such universities have commenced functioning in 2009-10." "The UPA government has approved the setting up of six Indian Institutes of Management at Rohtak, Raipur, Ranchi, Tiruchirapalli, Kashipur and Udaipur. Two new IITs at Indore and Mandi started functioning from the academic year 2009-10. Government has also decided to set up 10 new NITs, to be located in Goa, Puducherry, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim," it further states. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh released his government's report card here on Tuesday on the occasion of first anniversary of UPA's second tenure.

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