Print Edition - 2014-10-19 | Main News
JSSK hopes to print books on time this year
Oct 18, 2014-Timely allocation of budget by the government to the debt-ridden Janak Shiksha Samagri Kendra (JSSK) has increased the possibility of school textbooks being available for students across the country in time for the new academic session for the first time in seven years.
The Ministry of Finance on Sunday released Rs 200 million as loan to the government entity to start printing of textbooks for the new school year that starts in mid-April next year. The money will have to be paid back after selling the books to schools. The Ministry of Education has embarked Rs 1.86 billion to fund free distribution of textbooks to around 5.99 million students from grades 1 to 10. Of the total 40 million units needed for the next fiscal year, half will be published by the JSSK while the remaining ones will be printed by private publishers.
According to Anil Kumar Jha, executive manager of the JSSK, around 70,000 copies of books are being printed on a daily basis. This would be scaled up after adequate supply of paper is ensured.
“We have been using the paper from our old stock. We will soon procure the necessary amount with the funds released by the Finance Ministry to ensure smooth printing for the next six months,” said Jha, adding that the JSSK will meet its target by the first week of April next year. The government has lessened the JSSK burden by allowing private printers in the business. A meeting of the High-level Textbook Monitoring Committee assigned the private sector last month to print textbooks from grades 1 to 5 while the JSSK got the responsibility to print books for grades 6 to 10. Earlier, the state-owned educational material centre had been tasked with the publication of all the textbooks for the central, mid-western and far-western regions including textbooks for grades 9 and 10 for the remaining regions, while private publishers printed textbooks for grades 1 to 8 for the eastern and western development regions.
The JSSK owes more than Rs 1 billion to several banks and has run out of property to present as collateral to get more loans. Since the government started distributing textbooks free of cost to all the students of about 29,000 public schools six years ago, the publisher has never supplied books on time. In total, 36 million textbooks need to be printed in a year.
Published: 19-10-2014 09:00