.........BHUBANESWAR: Despite several initiatives by the Centre as well as State Government to enhance students’ enrolment and retention in primary and secondary schools, the alarming rate of drop-out has exposed the loopholes in the delivery mechanism.
According to the recently released Economic Survey (Volume-II), at least three of 10 students enrolled in primary schools in the State drop out before appearing High School Certificate examination.
The schemes like Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) seem to have failed to retain students as the survey report indicated that the annual average drop-out rates in States like Odisha is as high as 30 per cent which require policy interventions.
The survey on Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development suggested the need to improve the delivery of schemes/programmes as the retention rate at all India level stood at 57 per cent in secondary schools.
Stating that there is a need to work for a Gross Enrolment Ration (GER) of 100 per cent by 2020-21, it said a target GER of 100 per cent should also be accompanied with Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) target of 100 per cent, along with a transition rate of 100 per cent from both primary to secondary and then to higher/senior secondary level.
On use of electricity, fuel and drinking water, the survey noted that though at the all-India level, the percentage of households with electricity, clean cooking fuel and improved drinking water source has registered an increase from 68 to 88 per cent, 25 to 44 per cent and 88 to 90 per cent respectively during 2005-06 to 2015-16, States like Odisha lag behind.
“There are notable regional disparities in access, as in the case of clean cooking fuel in Assam, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Meghalaya and Jharkhand, which have only around 18.25 per cent households using clean cooking fuels,” the report stated.
However, the survey has also come up with some interesting facts on irrigation front. The Benefit Cost (BC) ratio of installing micro irrigation system is greater than one across States and across crops, signifying the importance of the systems in the enhancement of farmers net income. “The BC ratio was the highest in Odisha for fruits and vegetables whereas, in flowers, Rajasthan and Haryana beneficiary farmers achieved higher BC ratio,” the report observed.