New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday announced constitution of two separate councils for higher education and health to accelerate reforms in these sectors. Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 64th Independence day, Singh said improvement in the areas of education and health is an important strategy for inclusive growth.
"It is also necessary for higher economic growth in the years to come," he said. Singh said, "Today almost every child in our country has access to primary education. Now we need to pay more attention to secondary and higher education".
The Prime Minister said there was also a need to improve the quality of education at all levels. "We will soon bring a bill to Parliament for constitution of two separate councils in higher education and health respectively so that reforms in these two areas can be accelerated," he said.
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad have both favoured such councils.
The National Knowledge Commission has also backed the formation of such bodies. On the health front, Singh said though nutritious food and good health services are necessary, they are not enough for ensuring good health of the citizens.
There are many diseases which would be difficult to prevent in the cities, towns and villages without cleanliness and good sanitation, he said. Singh said, "The truth is that our country lags behind in this area. I consider it a primary responsibility of all our citizens to maintain cleanliness and hygiene around them.
I would like our children to be taught the importance of cleanliness and hygiene in schools from the very beginning under a campaign for a Clean India".
He appealed to the state governments, Panchayat Raj Institutions, civil society groups and common citizens to make this campaign successful. PTI