Himansu Shekhar Rout

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan reminded Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday to implement the centrally-sponsored Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) in Odisha. At the same time, the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the Naveen-led Odisha government of deliberately not implementing the scheme out of fear of losing popularity.

As per reports, Pradhan has written a letter in this regard to Patnaik for the second time. In his letter, the Union Minister urged the Chief Minister to ensure that Odisha should not be deprived of the central scheme, which was launched in 2013 aiming to provide strategic funding to 300-plus state universities and its affiliated colleges across the country.  

On June 15, 2022, Pradhan wrote a letter to the Chief Minister to roll out the scheme in Odisha. As the state government has allegedly adopted a dillydallying policy toward the execution of the PM-USHA, the BJP alleged that the Odisha government is favouring the promotion of education through private colleges and universities.

Addressing a presser in Bhubaneswar, BJP spokesperson, Anil Biswal said, “Another Central scheme is Pradhan Mantri Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI), which has ensured quality education in the government-run schools in the country. This is also not being implemented in Odisha even though Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has time and again written letters to the state government for its implementation,” he observed.

Biswal also stated that the Union Minister even openly urged the government at a meeting to implement PM SHRI, but no step has been taken. 

“Another flagship programme is Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) which will bring about transformation of the higher education in universities. The state government needs to sign a MoU with the Union Ministry of Education for its implementation. The Union Minister again wrote a letter to the Chief Minister to take steps for its implementation on Wednesday. But no response has been received so far,” the BJP leader added.

He lamented that the state government is not also signing the MoU in this connection out of fear that its implementation might increase the popularity of the Union Education Minister.  

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“As a result, over 800 schools will be deprived of their entitlement for transformation and funds worth Rs 1600 crore under PM SHRI. What harm is there in implementing PM SHRI in Odisha,” he asked.

The ruling BJD retaliated, accusing the BJP leaders of double standards. “We have nothing to say about the leaders adopting double standards. The centre awards the state for the successful implementation of the Central schemes. On the other hand, BJP leaders are unable to tolerate successful implementation of the projects and allege such baseless things,” said BJD legislator, Dhruba Sahoo.

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