Saturday, March 15, 2014

Complaints of RTE violations pile up


NEW DELHI: Over the four years since Right to Education Act was implemented, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has received more than 3,800 complaints of RTE violations. Fewer than half of them-41.25%-have been resolved. The national commission is the apex body for monitoring RTE implementation in the country.

Data obtained through an RTI query filed by activist Rashmi Gupta shows that, while the number of cases coming to the commission has declined drastically over the years-there were 1,177 in 2010-11 and 174 in 2013-14, it has amassed a massive backlog of cases. Activists believe decrease in number of cases being reported is because of the slow pace of resolution. "These figures illustrate that people have lost hope in the commission leading to a phenomenal decrease in the number of complaints," Gupta says.

NCPCR chairperson Kushal Singh, however, says that the decrease in numbers is because most states have started state-level commissions since 2010.

"Also, as a matter of policy, we transfer to the state commissions many complaints that are easier for them to deal with because they are on the spot," she says. The transferred ones are not counted in the data furnished in the RTI reply. NCPCR now handles mainly "infrastructure and policy-related complaints" or complaints of "inter-departmental issues". Individual complaints are moved to the state commissions.

But the backlog, concedes Singh, is a problem. "There is definitely a backlog and it's not acceptable. We are not paying attention to this because, if a complaint was filed in 2010, the resolution has no validity if it's coming in 2014," says Singh. There are still 484 open cases from the 2010-11 batch of complaints. "We send the complaint to the state and sometimes replies are unduly delayed. Depending on their responses, action is taken. It's not practical to use summons proceedings for every complaint," she adds.

Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights has a better record-it's closed over 85% cases. Gupta also asked for information on funds going to the RTE cells of NCPCR and DCPCR. The funds for NCPCR's RTE cell has increased from Rs 278.76 lakh in 2010-2011 to Rs 653.38 lakh in 2013-2014.

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