Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Addressing presspersons after submitting the first volume of the report of the commission to the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, here on Tuesday, the former Chief Minister and chairman of the commission, M. Veerappa Moily, said the annual revenue from the four sectors would increase to Rs. 1,800 crores from the Rs. 214.66 crores in 2001-02 if the State Government implemented the recommendations of the commission. These included several measures to increase the growth of the revenue from the present 11 per cent to 25 per cent. The GDP growth rate of the revenue would be increased from two to five per cent. Besides suggesting the closure of several departments in these sectors, the commission favoured an increase in user charges.
The major recommendations in the education sector include those for the closure of the Directorates of Collegiate Education, Technical Education and Medical Education and unviable government and grant-in-aid colleges, privatisation of printing and supply of textbooks, setting up of a housing corporation for teachers, introduction of group health insurance for teachers and merger of ITI courses with the pre-university course. For technical education, the panel has suggested setting up of a statutory fee regulatory commission for every three years to recommend the fee structure for professional courses. It has also opposed starting of new grant-in-aid institutions.
In the field of medical education, the commission has recommended giving autonomy to universities and colleges in starting new courses, dropping unviable courses and deciding the intake.
The net revenue from the education sector was Rs. 25.03 crores in 2001-02, and it could be increased to Rs. 50 crores if the suggestions were implemented, Mr. Moily said.
In the health sector, the commission suggested the introduction of user charges in hospitals, revision of the charges every three years, autonomy to district hospitals, more funds for preventive health, setting up of an independent and statutory health regulatory authority, handing over of more health centres/units to NGOs and private enterprises, procurement of drugs and medicines as per a centralised rate contract and computerisation of drug procurement through e-governance.
To promote health tourism, it has suggested the setting up of expert committees to evolve a policy for the sector and opening of health tourism societies. The net annual revenue from the health sector would be increased from Rs. 50.98 crores to Rs. 150 crores if the Government introduced the reforms, Mr. Moily said.
In the forest sector, the commission has suggested an enhancement of the entrance fee in zoos every three years, the merger of all forest corporations with the Karnataka Forest Development Corporation (KFDC), and the disposal of the Karnataka State Forest Industries Corporation's furniture shops, veneer mills, wood industries and the distillery unit. The excess staff of the KFDC should be offered a voluntary retirement scheme and the corporation should be permitted to mobilise funds from the open market, it has said.
To promote ecotourism, the commission has suggested the formulation of a comprehensive policy and formation of eco-tourism societies at every site. If the reforms were implemented, the revenue of the department would increase from Rs. 100 crores to Rs. 1,500 crores.
Mr. Moily said the next step of the commission was to prepare a report suggesting reforms in the police, labour and employment, industry, agriculture, drinking water and cooperation sectors.
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