UK announces Rs 1200 cr for India's educational programme

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New Delhi, Jun 11 (UNI) India's flagship programme for universal elementary education, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA 2) will get Rs 1200 Crore (150 million Pounds) from UK's Department for International Development (DFID).

The announcement for the aid was made by DFID's Permanent Secretary, Nemat Shafik, while launching DFID's new Country Plan here today.

DFID's support to SSA 2 will be used to ensure that all children beytween 6 to 14 years are enrolled and regularly attend primary school, Mr Shafik said.

There will also be a focus on getting more girls and children from marginalised social groups into education and to improve the quality of primary education, he added.

DFID support to Phase 1 of the SSA programme has been successful in helping millions of children to get into school, raising enrolment to 96 per cent, the DFID's Permanenet Secretary claimed.

The funding is part of DFID's new seven-year Country Plan, which sets out the roadmap of how DFID will work with the government to help fight poverty, with a particular focus on boosting child literacy, reducing child under-nutrition, tackling gender discrimination and social exclusion, he informed.

''India is making waves as a new global power. But we should not forget the other faces of India. More that 400 million people in India live in extreme poverty and another 500 million live on between one and two dollars a day,'' Mr Shafik said.

''I feel strongly that education is the key to a brighter future for India. Our support to SSA 2 will help in getting all girls and boys into school helping India, and the world, to meet the education MDG target by 2015. And in doing so we will empower today's children to lead India to a future where all participate in its growing prosperity,'' he added.

It was also announced that DFID would begin a new state development programme in Bihar. The department is working in partnership with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to begin its engagement with a governance reform programme in Bihar.

Over the next five years, the UK will invest up to 100 million pounds in Bihar on urban services and health, such as medical care for pregnant women, the secretary told newspersons.

DFID's new Country Plan, Three Faces of India, identifies three faces of the country and proposes three different ways to engage with each, he said.

The Three Faces of India will focus on: Poorest India: the 370-400 milion people living on less than one dollar per day, who can't access basic services or feed their children adequately; Developing India: the 500 million people living on less than two dollars per day, not rich by any standards and vulnerable to any shock; Global India: The UK will work jointly with the Government of India on global public goods (for example adaptation to climate change), on areas where India can contribute to poverty reduction elsewhere (like generic drugs) and collaborating on reform of the international development system.

UNI NAZ RJ BD2045

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