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April 1st, 2010

Right to Education to assure all children elementary education: PM

Prime Minister Dr. Mammohan Singh

Right to Education as a fundamental right formally came into effect on April 1 with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh urging all stakeholders to make it a success by empowering people through education. "Today our government comes before you to pledge all our children elementary education. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act enacted by the Parliament in August 2009 comes into force today," the Prime Minister said in an early morning address to the nation.

The full text of the PM's address:

"About a hundred years ago a great son of India, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, urged the Imperial Legislative Assembly to confer on the Indian people the Right to Education.

About ninety years later the Constitution of India was amended to enshrine the Right to Education as a fundamental right.

Today, our government comes before you to redeem the pledge of giving all our children the right to elementary education. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, enacted by Parliament in August 2009, has come into force today.

The Fundamental Right to Education, as incorporated in our Constitution under Article 21 A, has also become operative from today. This demonstrates our national commitment to the education of our children and to the future of India. We are a nation of young people.

Continued on Page 2

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Chidambaram visits Britain

India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram with British Home Secretary Alan Johnson

India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram was on a three-day visit to the United Kingdom from March 21 to 23. The objective of the visit was to discuss security related cooperation with Britain and understand the working of Britain's intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies.

In London, the Home Minister met British Home Secretary Alan Johnson, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Foreign Policy Adviser Simon McDonald and other key British officials responsible for security and intelligence matters. The Home Minister also familiarised himself with the functioning of some key British institutions relating to security and intelligence matters.

During his meeting with Johnson, the two sides discussed ongoing security cooperation between India and Britain and explored further possibilities in this field. In his meeting with Miliband, the two Ministers discussed the security situation in the Indian sub-continent and other bilateral issues of mutual interest.

The visit was a major step towards strengthening the strategic partnership between India and Britain.

The Home Minister also visited some of the security-related institutions located outside London, like the Metropolitan Police Service, Detica Operations Centre, Secret Intelligence Service and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

He later met Director-General of Security Service Jonathan Evans, Director-General of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism Charles Farr and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee Alex Allan.

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Foreign Education Bill passed

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal

India's Cabinet on March 16 approved a Bill that would allow foreign education providers to set up campuses in India and offer degrees.

"This is a milestone which will enhance choices, increase competition and benchmark quality," Minister for Human Resource Development (MHRD) Kapil Sibal said.

The Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations, Maintenance of Quality and Prevention of Commercialisation) Bill will allow foreign universities to invest at least 51 percent of the total capital expenditure needed to establish the institute in India. Such institutes will be granted deemed university status under Section 3 of the Universities Grants Commission (UGC) Act, 1956.

The Bill aims to regulate the entry, operation and maintenance of quality assurance and prevention of commercialisation by foreign educational institutions.

In 2008, around 140 Indian institutions and 156 foreign education providers were involved in academic collaborations.

Of the foreign providers, 90 have university status and 20 have college status.

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