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Finally, Cabinet clears Education Bill

October 31, 2008 11:55 IST

In a major boost to education sector, the Union Cabinet has cleared the long-pending Right to Education Bill, which promises free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14.

"The Bill has been considered at several levels by the Group of Ministers (GoM). The Cabinet has approved the text of the Bill," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters about the decision of the Cabinet which met last night.

Observing that it was an important promise to the children as education would become a fundamental right, he said that it would be legally enforcible duty of the Centre and the states to provide free and compulsory education.

Chidambaram said that the HRD Ministry would release the text of the Bill after consulting the Election Commission in view of the assembly polls in some states.

The GoM, entrusted with the task of scrutinising the Bill, had cleared the draft legislation early this month without diluting the content including some of the contentious provisions like 25 per cent reservation in private schools for disadvantaged children from the neighbourhood at the entry level.

Other key provisions in the Bill are no donation or capitation or interviewing the child or parents as part of a screening procedure.

The Right to Education Bill is the enabling legislation to notify the 86th Constitutional amendment, which gives every child between the age of 6 and 14 years the right to free and compulsory education. It was passed by Parliament in December 2002.   

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