20.10        ndian     onom
              (b) The states just entering the window          most vital role in the country. This is why the
                   period have some time to plan and           education sector remains a priority area for the
                   must pursue policies simultaneously         governments. The present concerns regarding
                   in several areas like education, health     education is briefly highlighted as given below11:
                   (including reproductive health),            Enrolment trends: Major findings of the ASER
                   gender issues, and employment               2014 have been highlighted below—
                   generation from now on so that they
                                                                         There has been a decline in enrolment
                   can fully utilise the opportunity.
                                                                         in the government schools in the rural
                                                                         areas which fell down from 72.9 per cent
        socIo-econoMIc And cAste census                                  of 2007 to 63.1 per cent in 2014. This
     The identification of the real beneficiaries is of                  decline looks made up by an increase
     paramount importance, for the success of any                        in the private schools during the same
     targeted approach. In line with this approach the                   period which increased from 20.2 to 30.7
     Dr. N. C. Saxena Committee was constituted to                       per cent. Concerns about the decline in
     advise on the ‘methodology for a BPL census in                      enrolment in government schools need
     rural areas’. Since June 2011, for the first time,                  to be identified and addressed. Decline
     a Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC)                            in enrolment in government schools
     is being conducted through a comprehensive                          and some shift to private schools might
     ‘door-to-door’ enumeration in both rural and                        be largely related to the poor quality of
     urban India, authentic information is being made                    education offered in government schools,
     available on the socio-economic condition and                       since it is free or offered for a nominal fee.
     educational status of various castes and sections                   There is a sharp decline in the number
     through the SECC.                                                   of children in standard V who can
          The exercise was completed by late 2016                        read a textbook of standard II in both
     and presently, the errors are in the process of                     government and private schools.
     rectification—the reason the report of the census                   The decline in educational outcomes in
     has not been put in the public domain yet. Once                     private schools warrants equal attention
     the census is fully ready, its findings are expected to             since there is an increase in the share
     be used in as guidelines in several areas such as—                  of private providers of schooling and
     identifying the level of poverty, target population                 education across India.
     for the disbursal of subsidies, selection for eligibility      As per the Economic Survey 2016-17, an
     for educational scholarships, old age pension, re-        important concern that is often raised in the
     orienting the existing reservation policy, better         context of school education is ‘low learning
     implementation (by correct identification the             outcomes’. This has been pointed out in several
     beneficiaries) of the MGNAREGS, National                  studies (including ASER, 2014). While there have
     Food Security scheme, etc.                                been improvements in access and retention, the
        educAtIonAl scenArIo                                     11.  Based on the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)
                                                                      2014; Educational Statistics at a Glance 2014, Ministry
     In the process of realising the demographic                      of HRD—as quoted by the Economic Survey 2015-16
                                                                      and Economic Survey 2016-17, Vol. 1, pp. 162-163.
     dividend, education and skill have to play the