HRD Ministry releases Rs 459 cr for J&K under SSA

Following the approval of 90:10 share under Sarav Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) by Union Finance Ministry for three Himalayan States, the HRD Ministry has issued orders for release of Rs 459 crore for J&K to be utilized under the scheme.
The decision to this effect was taken by Union HRD Minister, Smriti Irani soon after the Minister of State for Education, Culture and Information from J&K Priya Sethi called on her in Union Capital today and apprised the problems of the teachers working under SSA including the Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers who were without salaries for last seven months now, highly placed sources said.
Sources said Mrs Irani gave on spot instructions for releasing Rs 459 crore to the State of J&K under the scheme so that salaries of the SSA teachers are released without any further delay.
The decision will bring a major relief to thousands of SSA and ReT teachers in the State who are without salaries for last seven months and some of them are even at the verge of starvation, sources added.
According to reports, over 45,000 teachers working under SSA in the State are without salaries for the last seven months now. Out of them over 20,000 teachers are working in Kashmir division while over 25,000 teachers are in Jammu region.
It may recalled had published a story in its November 21 edition that thousands of SSA teachers are without salaries for months together in the State.
Sources said the decision for release of funds was taken by Union HRD Ministry after the Finance Ministry approved the funding pattern for three Himalayan States including J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand by issuing a clarification to previous order.
Under the clarification, it has been stated that the names of the Himalayan States for whom the revised funding pattern of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes has been fixed at 90:10 are J&K, HP and Uttarakhand. The letter to this effect was issued by Union Ministry of Finance Department of Expenditure some days back addressed to Ministry of Human Resources and Development, sources added.
After the approval by Union Finance Ministry, the HRD Ministry also intimated to the States that the revised pattern of sharing funding has  been fixed at 90:10 for Himalayan States and today when the issue was taken up by Minister of State from J&K Priya Sethi with Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani she lost no time in issuing immediate instructions for releasing Rs 459 crore to J&K State under new pattern of funding, sources said.
The funding pattern under the SSA scheme was earlier 65: 35 and State Government was pressing hard to Centre to convert it into 90:10 i.e the State will pay only 10 percent funding under the scheme while 90 percent will be paid by the Centre, sources said.
The agitating SSA teachers were up in arms against the Government and they had warned state-wide agitation earlier as they were without salaries for long time, sources said. However, the State which was facing a financial crunch was unable even to deposit Rs 41 crore under its share of the funding for salaries of SSA teachers with the result the Centre had blocked funding which it was supposed to pay under earlier 65: 35 share basis, sources said.
As per the guidelines of Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, the State has to utilize its 35 percent share first and only then Centre will release remaining 65 percent share, sources added.
Sources said that the decision regarding revised pattern of funding of 90: 10 reveals that the NDA Government led by Narendra Modi is totally committed for the development of the Himalayan State of J&K ravaged by 26 year long turmoil.
Priya Sethi, who is in Union Capital also called on Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma and strongly advocated setting up of museum at Jammu besides three cultural centers for the State. She was given a positive response by the Union Minister in this regard, Priya told  adding the meeting was successful and the Minister gave a positive response. Besides, she took up the issue of Mubarak Mandi Heritage Project with the Union Minister and stressed on immediate release of Rs 57 crore for the project for its speedy completion.

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