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Govt to notify separate ‘Education Calendar’ to cut holidays

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JAMMU, JAN 23: Terming education as cog-in-the-wheel of progress at all levels, Minister for Education Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari today said despite many odds and varied challenges the government succeeded to putting decrepit education system back on track and the recent board results in Kashmir offer a silver lining amid the dark clouds.
Winding up the discussion on Demand for Grants of the Education and allied Departments under his charge and responding to the points raised by the legislators, the Minister stressed on engaging in a constructive dialogue on improving the contours of the education sector, and emphasised that ‘it requires all of us to rise above political affiliations and considerations.’
He welcomed the suggestions of the Legislators and assured them that the same would be incorporated to streamline the functioning of the Department.
Admitting it was hard to bring a discernible change on the ground in the backdrop of huge gaps and challenges posed by law and order situation, he said to paint a rosy picture won’t be the right thing.
He however said that investment in education would mean investment in the future of the children ‘Nation Builders of Tomorrow’.
“Considering this fact, Government has decided on three-fold increase in the CAPEX Budget of School Education Department for the year 2018-19, “the Minister said.
He expressed gratitude to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu for having considered his projections made during series of interactions held with them.
He informed it was due to their personal efforts of the Finance Minister that despite shortfall in the allocation of salaries of SSA Teachers by the Central Government, the Finance Department has gone out of way in disbursing salaries to these Teachers from the State Budget.
The Minister reminded the members of the series of marathon constituency-wise meetings taken by him to review the education sector.
“I hope that the members by now must have framed a blueprint of their respective constituencies as the ownership of education in their areas has already been vested in them during these meetings,” he asserted and said one of the first steps in strategic partnership with the Legislators and MPs can take towards upgrading infrastructure in education sector will be their commitment to contribute Rs 1 crore each out of their CDF and MPLAD grants towards education sector. He assured that the funds provided shall be spent as per the demands of the Legislators and Parliamentarians in their respective constituencies.
He informed the house that the State Cabinet has given nod to the up-gradation of 400 schools from Middle to High and High to Higher Secondary level and establishment of 17 new degree colleges in the State.
The Minister informed that to compensate the loss of time of students of schools and colleges due to frequent disruptions, his Ministry is seriously considering notifying a separate ‘Education Calendar’ that minimises holidays and enables the teachers to complete their syllabi well in time. He sought support of the people in safeguarding the education sector from frequent disruptions and called for exempting teachers from all non-academic duties in the larger interest of the student community.
“We cannot afford to make our students suffer for this, teachers have to be discharged from all non-teaching assignments, including election-related duties,” he said.
Saying that the stat is still reprieving from the unrest of 2016 which took a heavy toll of the education sector, he said a large number of School buildings were specifically targeted by miscreants and around 32 Schools buildings were gutted, leaving the students in a lurch.
Sharing the views of the members to revisit the present education system, the Minister acknowledged that JK students have great potential and said “If we are able to nurture them and link education with skill and employability, we will achieve our goal of making our college and university campuses sought-after centres of excellence where top-notch companies would hunt for skilled human resource.”
He said with this view vocational Education is being imparted in 10 trades viz., IT/ ITES, Retail, Healthcare, Travel & Tourism, Agriculture, Telecommunications, Physical Education, Beauty and wellness Media & Entertainment and Security. It shall be my endeavour to broaden the scope of trades after proper mapping.
Calling for being more liberal while funding educational infrastructure, he said majority of the government Schools are in a pathetic state and lack even basic facilities like electricity, drinking water, lavatories, ramps, playgrounds, computer-aided labs and tools of modern learning like Smart Classrooms.
“Unless we address this huge infrastructural gap, any false promise of revamping the educational sector shall remain an absurd pretence and nothing more than a charade. After carrying out detailed assessment of existing infrastructure gap, it has been assessed that the School Education Department requires additional funding to the tune of Rs. 2500 crore towards renovation of existing infrastructure facilities. Similarly in the Higher Education sector, which is a relatively new Department, there is an urgent requirement of around Rs. 1300 crore, to bridge over infrastructure gap” the Minister asserted.
He said after intensive study and feedback, the department has been able to draw a perspective plan for the next three years to bring out a visible change on the ground in terms of augmenting infrastructure development in the education sector. “To implement this perspective plan, a first tranche of Rs 400 crore in School Education Department and Rs. 200 crore in Higher Education Department is immediately required to set the ball rolling” he added.
He, however, said under Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the Central flagship scheme, the government is trying to address key areas to make the institutes of higher learning centres oexcellence.
Citing that there was an urgent need to construct around 3200 additional classrooms in high and higher secondary Schools and 5500 classrooms in primary and upper primary, as per present enrolment, the Minister said the department needs more than this.
“After all, it is our children who are enrolled in these Schools. Let us not be parochial and see these 5300 Schools as competitors or rivals but as real partners in the field of education.” He, however, said that there are certain issues with the functioning of the private schools which we are looking into, especially the one related to regulation of fee structure, purchase of textbooks and school uniforms for which this House has expressed concern. “To address this, the School Education Department is actively considering bringing in legislation to regulate fee structure of all private educational institutions in the State so that we do not see these only as profiteering tuck-shops, as the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed” the Minister added.


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State

Govt approves APOs of Forest, Wildlife dept for 2019-20

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Jammu Jan 15:  Chief Secretary, B. V. R. Subrahmanyam Tuesday chaired the 16th meeting of the Steering Committee of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to consider the Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) of Forest and Wildlife Departments for the Year 2019-20.

After due deliberations, the Steering Committee approved the APOs for the year 2019-20 for Forest and allied Departments in terms of which afforestation will be undertaken in 6000 Hectare area and around 43 Lakh saplings will be planted in 2019-20. The Committee also approved the APOs of Wildlife Protection Department.

Earlier, the Committee was informed that against 13,000 hectares diverted under Jammu and Kashmir Forest Conservation Act for development works since inception, more than 41,000 hectares degraded forest area has been afforested.

 

Against each tree felled under the Act for development works, more than 20 new plants have been planted to compensate for the loss of environmental goods and services.

The Committee was informed that new Rules which have been notified on December 24th 2018 provide that more than 80% of the total outlay is to be spent on Forest and Wildlife Management Activities and less than 20% of the outlay on Infrastructure and Capacity building Activities.

The Committee was also informed that a Monitoring Group headed by CCF (Project and Planning) has been entrusted with the task of evolving independent system for concurrent monitoring and evaluations of CAMPA works.

Chief Secretary desired that utility of expenditure on fencing works should be reviewed by the Department for more effective utilization of funds.

It was informed that the coordinates and maps of the works executed under CAMPA are being placed on the website of e-green watch portal of Ministry of Environment and Forest.

While underscoring the importance of conservation and protection of flora, fauna and forest wealth, Chief Secretary urged the officers of the Forest Department to redouble their efforts so that afforestation and compensatory plantation is undertaken in a mission mode for restoring the ecological balance in the State. He also directed the Forest Department to put the details of works undertaken under CAMPA in public domain. The Department was also directed to work out a comprehensive proposal for conservation of wetlands in the State, particularly Gharana, Mansar and Hokersar, in consultation with the line Departments viz; Agriculture and Revenue and thereafter submit the same for consideration of the Government within two months.

Commissioner/Secretary, Forest advocated earmarking higher allocations to promote cultivation and marketing of medicinal plants so as to serve as a means of livelihood for the local population.

The Wildlife Department was directed to carry out habitat improvement, human animal conflict management and research studies and other conservation works under CAMPA. The Department was further directed to expedite updating of Forest Demarcation records and installation of boundary pillars in order to prevent encroachment of forest lands.

Principal Secretary, Finance, Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Monitoring, Commissioner/Secretary, Forest, Ecology and Environment, Director, Soil & Water Conservation, Director, SFRI, Director, Social Forestry Department, Chief Conservator Forests, Jammu, Chief Conservator Forests (Eco Tourism), Chief Conservator of Forests (Planning & Project), CCF(FCA) and representative of MoEF&CC, Regional Office Chandigarh participated in the meeting. NGO members Nazir-B-Nazir and Dr.Gurmit Singh also attended the meeting as special invitees.

Sarvesh Rai, APCCF(CAMPA) made a detailed presentation on the functioning of CAMPA and APOs of the financial year 2019-20.

 

 

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K-issue globally accepted dispute: Geelani

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Srinagar, Jan 15: Hurriyat Conference (G) convened a meeting of its Majlis-e-Shoora, which was presided over by its chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, at his Hyderpora residence.

The meeting took stock of the current Kashmir situation.

According to a statement issued to the media, the meeting was attended by representatives of the amalgam including Bilal Siqiqui, Mohammad Yousf Naqash, Khawaja Firdous, Hameed Elahi, Molvi Bashir Irfani, Syed Mohammad Shafi, Yasmeen Raja, Arshid Aziz, Gh. Mohammad Nagoo, Shaheen Iqbal, Devinder Singh Behal, Masooda Ji, Mohammad Maqbool Magami and Mubashir Iqbal.

 

The statement read that during the meeting it was termed Kashmir issue as a long pending political and humanitarian issue to be settled by exercising free and fair plebiscite.

Hailing the statement of British Parliamentarian to help solve the Kashmir issue if voted to power, participants said that this once again vindicates our stand and proves beyond doubt the disputed nature of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which India shamelessly continues to denial for the last 7 decades.

In his presidential address, Hurriyat Chairman termed Kashmir issue a globally accepted dispute where in the people’s right to self-determination is not only acknowledged but confirmed by more than a dozen resolutions, but persistent denial of our basic rights has turned this beautiful piece of land in a hell where every day killings, crackdowns, arrests, nocturnal raids and bulldozing residences has became a routine. People have been forced to live a harassed and threatened life, with continuous psychological stress, he said.

He further said that people are left at the mercy of forces, with vast and widespread intelligence network, who continuously peep into their private affairs without any moral or ethical ground.

Hurriyat (G) chairman said that common people especially pro-freedom political workers are slapped with numberless PSA and even the release orders from their own judicial houses are not honoured.

Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman said that many countries have economic interests in India is which is the reason that despite knowing and confirming the barbaric and brute face of India they keep mum, which encourages its meanness and beastliness.

He stressed upon the nation in general and youth in particular to strengthen our bond with our faith and seek guidance from Allah Almighty, be united and steadfast on achieving our goal and we will In Shah Allah get rid of this unnatural and forced occupation.

Reiterating his appeal for boycott, Hurriyat (G) chairman said that those elected by our votes, in the name of basic needs like Sadak, Bijli and Pani, act as local faces of the brutality and inhumanness of rulers.

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Anti-Kashmir think tank hell-bent to change JK’s demography: Sehrai

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Srinagar, Jan 15: Reacting on tagging and filing yet another plea in Supreme Court (SC) against the Article 370, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Chairman, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai Tuesday said anti-Kashmir think tank are hell-bent to change the demography of the Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement issued here Sehrai said, “It’s a well-thought-out ploy to tamper with the special status and Muslim majority character of Jammu and Kashmir.”

“These forces are working hard to sabotage the future referendum process in Jammu and Kashmir and hatching conspiracies to achieve desired results to influence the process of referendum,” he said.

 

He said such moves were hatched to change the “disputed nature of J&K and its Muslim majority character too”. “The extremist elements had since 1947 always tried to push the Kashmir issue on the back burner and dilute its historical status and disputed character which they continue to do till this date. From Srinagar to New Delhi, efforts are being made to shift focus from Kashmir issue by portraying it away from its historical and ethical background,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sehrai expressed sorrow over the demise of Haji Ghulam Nabi Mir, member of Jamat-e-Islami Kulgam, President of JK Electrical Employees Union Mir Abdul Salaam Rajpori and cousin brother of General Secretary (TeH) Hamzah Shah.

Sehrai extended his condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families and prayed for the deceased souls.

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