Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday urged the central government to increase the procurement limit for the minimum support price (MSP) be increased to 50 per cent of the production, and also sought its support in the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP). Speaking at the Governing Council meeting of the NITI Aayog in New Delhi, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shinde highlighted the steps taken by the state for implementation of the NEP, and said his government was fully committed to effective rollout of this education policy. He also said that the cost norms need to be revised to boost the horticulture sector.
“In the mission for integrated development of horticulture, cost norms fixed in 2015 have not been changed. Project cost is significantly increasing due to the rise in prices of cement, iron and other raw material and it is no more affordable to farmers,” he said. He added the procurement limit for the MSP be increased to 50 per cent of the production. On the steps taken by the state government for implementation of the NEP, he said the state has made substantial progress in achieving universal access to elementary education.
“The state is fully committed to effective implementation of the NEP and has taken definitive steps in this direction. The gross enrolment ratio of Maharashtra has improved steadily in the last decade. The state is also promoting online and distant learning programmes,” he said. To make higher education affordable to everyone, the state government is providing scholarships to the needy students from backward castes and economically weaker sections, he said, adding that Maharashtra will achieve the target of 50 per cent gross enrolment ratio well before 2035.
The chief minister said transformation envisaged by the NEP can be effected through a massive capacity-building programme of faculty and supporting staff. The state government has set up Maharashtra State Faculty Development Academy for providing need-based training to teachers and academic leaders. The state is also encouraging higher education institutions, Shinde said.Seeking Centre’s support in implementation of the NEP, he said the central government should prepare an incentive scheme for the institutions which are taking a lead in implementation of the NEP.
Final guidelines of the University Grants Commisison (UGC) should be issued as soon as possible, so that they can be implemented in a time-bound manner, Shinde said, while urging the Centre to provide financial assistance to technology institutions, computer labs, digital and virtual labs, equipment for animation, gaming.