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Southern States - Karnataka

`Nutrition mission' for pregnant women planned: Joshi

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE April 29. The Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Murli Manohar Joshi, has said that the Centre is holding talks with the Planning Commission for launching a "nutrition mission" for pregnant mothers.

Dr. Joshi was speaking at the national educational conference organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Prathamik Shikshak Mahasangha (ABPMS) here today.

Referring to the amendment to the Education Act for imparting education compulsorily for children in the age group of six to 14, he said that the Centre had felt the need to address the problem of basic health and hygienic faced by poor people, before embarking on the programme. The "nutrition mission" would help overcome such problems, he said.

Responding to the charter of demands submitted by the ABPMS, he clarified that the Union Government could not take a unilateral decision on it. However, it would extend some assistance to the teachers after consulting the State governments about the issues raised by the organisation, he said.

Uniform pay scale and service facilities for all primary school teachers, right to vote in the elections to the Legislative Councils of the respective States, basic facilities for primary schools, more funds for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, special programmes to eradicate child labour, free uniforms, textbooks and mid-day meal for all children from class one to seven, and establishment of rural residential schools are the major demands of the ABPMS.

The literacy rate in the country according to the 2001 Census was 67 per cent. The Centre would shortly introduce its ambitious Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme in over 400 districts.

For imparting modern education, the Centre would introduce computer education in over 30,000 schools. It would utilise television, radio and other media for educating rural children.

In this context, FM radio would be of immense utility. The Government was keen on imparting education underlined by human values, and not by commerce interests, he said.

The Karnataka Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, H. Vishwanath, urged the Union Government to initiate steps to implement Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

He promised that the State Government would cooperate in its speedy implementation. He claimed that the S.M. Krishna government had brought in qualitative change in education. It had been making efforts to bring drastic changes, he added.

The Union Minister of State for Rural Development, Anna Saheb Patil, and the Karnataka Minister for Water Resources, H.K. Patil spoke.

The President of ABPMS, Shivaji Rao Patil, delivered the introductory speech. The Vice-President of ABPMS, Ere Gowda, welcomed the gathering. The General Secretary of ABPMS, Kashinath Jha, submitted the charter of demands to Dr. Joshi.

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