The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government on Friday promised to spend six per cent of the GDP on education and pledged to take immediate steps to reverse the trend of communalisation of education that had set in the past five years during the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government.
In a move aimed at giving a boost to universalisation of education, the CMP proposes to introduce a cess on all central taxes to finance the commitment to universalise the access to quality basic education.
"A national commission on education will be set up to allocate resources and monitor programmes," it said.
In the backdrop of controversy over 'saffronisation' of education and slashing of fees in IIMs, the CMP said, "The UPA will take immediate steps to reverse the trend of communalisation of education that had set in the past five years."
It also promised to ensure that all institutions of higher learning and professional education retain their autonomy.
While pledging to raise public spending in education to at least six per cent GDP with at least half this amount being spent on primary and secondary schools, the CMP said, "The UPA will ensure that nobody is denied professional education because he or she is poor."
The CMP said that academic excellence and professional competence would be the sole criteria for all appointments to bodies like the ICHR, ICSSR, UGC and NCERT.
A national cooked nutritious mid-day meal scheme would be introduced in primary and secondary schools, it said, The CMP added that the UPA would also universalise the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme to provide a functional anganwadi in every settlement and ensure full coverage for all children.
The document also promised full backing and support to all NGO efforts in the area of primary education.
Assuring to raise public spending on health to at least two per cent of GDP over the next five years with focus on primary health care, the document said a national scheme for health insurance for poor families would be introduced.
The UPA would step up public investment in programmes to control all communicable diseases and also provide leadership to the national AIDS control effort.
On the social justice front, the CMP urged the states to make legislation for conferring ownership rights in respect of minor forest produce, include tendu leaves on all those people from the weaker sections who work in the forests.
"All reservation quotas, including those relating to promotions will be fulfilled in a time-bound manner," it said.
Promising to launch a comprehensive national programme for minor irrigation of all lands owned by Dalits and adivasis, the CMP said landless families would be endowed with some land through proper implementation of land ceiling and land redistribution legislation.
Concerned over the growth of Naxalite violence in various states, the document said that the problem would be addressed more meaningfully.
On the water resources front, the document said that the government would take all steps to ensure that long pending inter-state disputes on rivers and water-sharing like the Cauvery Waters dispute were settled amicably at the earliest keeping in mind the interests of all parties to the dispute.
The government would examine the techno-economic feasibility of linking the rivers of the country starting with the south bound rivers that protects the interests of all states.
In order to end the acute drinking water shortage in cities especially in southern states, desalination plants would be installed all along the Coromandel Coast starting with Chennai.