Pradeep Pattanayak

Politics has intensified between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) over the implementation of PM SHRI scheme. 

After Ayushman Bharat, the Centre and the State government are once again locking horns. This time, they are confronting each other over the implementation of the PM ScHools for Rising India (PM SHRI) scheme. 

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan wanted to know why the State government is hesitating to sign the MoU. 
“Under PM SHRI, Odisha will get 800 schools and Rs 1600 crore. But the Odisha government is yet to sign the MoU. I urge the Odisha government to take part in it,” said Pradhan. 

On the other hand, Odisha School and Mass Education Minister, Samir Ranjan Dash said a decision in this regard would be taken after a detailed discussion. 

“We are not denying any scheme which would benefit our students. But we will take a decision after discussions,” said Dash. 

At the same time, the Congress wished the student shouldn’t get sandwiched in the tussle between the State and the Centre. 

“The State has its own scheme (5T School Transformation Programme) and the Centre is going to implement another scheme. If a yojana benefits people, it shouldn’t be held back. If they (BJD) are holding it back, it might be due to having their own 5T department,” said Congress Spokesperson Nishikanta Mishra. 

Around 70 lakh students are studying in government schools. But even after the transformation, teacher posts at several schools are lying vacant and several other schools are struggling with poor infrastructure. 

Regarding the condition of the schools in the remote areas, the lesser said, the better. 

Considering the present condition, experts opined the State government should sign MoU with the Central government as it would immensely benefit the students from poor and backward sections of society. 

“The State government should accept the PM SHRI scheme as the State will get 800 schools and Rs 1600 crore.  It will help improve the education system of the State,” said Prabodh Kumar Panda, an educationist. 

“We are not against the opening of schools in the State. Rather, we are in favour of it. But the State and the Central governments should lay emphasis on the existing schools. They should think about the teachers' job manuals and retirement benefits,” said Prakash Mohanty, secretary, Odisha Secondary School Teachers’ Association (OSSTA).