PM eVidya, a program for multi-mode access to online educations was launched today, by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as part of the the fifth tranche of economic relief from the COVID-19 crisis. PM eVidya will include the DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing) platform for school education in states and union territories, as part of which, e-content and QR-coded “energised textbooks” will be prepared for all grades. Schools will also use podcasts, radio and community radio as part of the program. E-content for visually and hearing impaired students will also be prepared.

The government will earmark one TV channel for each grade as part of the PM eVidya program. Sitharam also announced that 12 more Swayam Prabha direct to home channels will be added for facilitating distance learning; currently there are 3 such channels. The top 100 universities in India will be permitted to “automatically” start online courses by May 30, Sitharaman said.

Apart from this, a new National Curriculum and Pedagogical framework for school, early childhood and teachers will be launched, along with a National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission that will ensure that every child attains “learning levels” in grade 5 by 2025. The latter will be launched by December 2020, and Sitharaman did no specify when the former would be launched.

Sitharaman also revealed some figures around direct benefit transfers that were done since the lockdowns began till May 16:

  • PM Kisan Yojana: Rs 2,000 each transferred to 8.19 crore farmers, totalling Rs 16,394 crore.
  • Target of Rs 3,000 crore fund for NSAP (National Social Assistance Program) nearly reached. Rs 1,405 crore was given in the first instalment, and Rs 1,402 crore in the second.
  • 2.20 crore building and construction workers received Rs 3,950 crore
  • 12 lakh EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation) members have claimed Rs 3,360 crore