3.1 Planning process and project formulation under DPEP is of great significance. DPEP emphasizes location-specific planning in a participatory manner. In a sense there are some basic postulates which need to be borne in mind for DPEP planning processes, namely the “nine pillars”. DPEP planning should include :

(i) Mobilization for UEE by activating village education committees, teachers, parents/guardians and linking up with efforts under the Total Literacy Campaign:

(ii) Planning for primary education and not merely primary schooling. Alternative methods have significance and a holistic view be taken.

(iii) Cover all qualitative aspects such as school effectiveness, textbooks, teacher training and improvement in simple reading and learning skills.

(iv) Convergence of services, such as primary education, primary health and ECCE to provide synergistic development

(v) Provision for training’s to improve teacher motivation and classroom transactions, as also in management of education.

(vi) Openness to innovations which thrown up new solutions and once tested can be scaled up, or aborted if unsuccessful.

(vii) A marked gender focus to provide for improvement in access, retention and achievement levels of girls education, as also to permeate gender sensitivity through all aspects of DPEP planning, including teacher training/recruitment, textbooks other educational facilities and incentives.

(viii) The canvas of DPEP is systemic where the issue is one of management of change and improving of the system.

(ix) Evaluation monitoring and research are interactive and supportive of DPEP. Studies and evaluations will play a major role in project planning and action research to facilitate decision-making.

3.2 The preparation of detailed district and state projects is the responsibility of the State Government under the programme. The projects should provide details of activities envisaged in the districts over the period of 7 years. The process by which the district/state proposals would be drawn up and approved for DPEP is indicated as follows:

A. Identification of districts according to DPEP criteria

B. Approval of district selections by DPEP

C. Appointment (if not in place) of District Planning Teams

D. Appointment (if not in place) of State Planning Teams

E. Preparation of preliminary district plans/proposals and cost estimates for eligible activities according to DPEP criteria and guidelines.

F. Preparation of state proposals for capacity building.

G. Preliminary appraisal of district / State proposals by DPEP

H. Once State/district proposals are ready they would be appraised and later monitored by GOI.

Components of the Programme

3.3 The following activities could form the components of the Programme:

(i) Project preparation activities illustrated above in para 2.2.1 above. The project formulation exercises, studies and surveys, training of planners as well as workshops for mobilization of public opinion and consultations with various interested groups would be eligible for financing under this category.

(ii) Environment building activities: Structures and fora could be evolved for a continuous process of consultations with parent-teacher groups, teachers’ associations, elected representatives, Panchayati Raj institutions, and non-governmental agencies working on educational issues. Innovative activities could be devised to mobilise public opinion and to generate a demand and concern for educational development in the district.

(iii) Activities under Primary Formal Education:

(a) Micro planning and school mapping to be taken up at village and block level within the district.

(b) Physical facilities for education like new school building and extension repair of the existing school buildings through low cost indigenous materials, vernacular design and participative construction methods, subject to the state norms being adopted. (0.7 sq.m. of space per student and a classroom of 40 students), and cost of civil construction being limited to 24% of the total project cost.

(c) Assessing the existing levels of equipment’s and teaching learning aids in a school and making provisions for them wherever inadequate and wherever not covered by State or central schemes.

(d) Streamlining the production and distribution of textbooks, NFE and ECCE materials and teachers’ guides.

(f) Establishing the current level of MLL (Minimum Levels of Learning) within the district on a sample basis and make plans to reach prescribed MLL within a specified time frame.

(g) Assess the need for teachers, particularly in rural areas and provide for their recruitment, training and induction. Emphasis to be on lady teachers for rural areas and provide for their salaries as per DPEP financial parameters.

(h) Provision of free textbooks for the focus group of the disadvantaged (SC/ST/girl child).

(iv) Activities under Primary Non-Formal Education:

(a) Development of viable models of NFE for children out-of-school.

(b) Assessing the need for and location of new NFE centres.

(c) The recruitment and training of NFE instructors.

(d) The development of teaching and learning materials for NFE.

(e) To mobilise the community for the management and monitoring of NFE centres.

(v) Activities under Early Childhood Care and Education:

(a) Development of modules for child development and education.

(b) Convergence of ECCE facilities with ICDS and ECE programmes and primary schools in terms of coordination of timings, enrolment drives and health and immunization services.

(c) In non-ICDS areas, opening of ECCE centres and providing for induction and training of ECCE workers as well as teaching learning materials.

(d) Actions related to preparing the child for primary schooling like school readiness programme.

(vi) Training:

(a) Strengthening the teachers in-service training and development of new designs for such training;

(b) selection and training of master trainers and resource persons within the district.

(c) Training of educational administrators including district and block level functionaries and VEC members.

(d) Augmenting the DIETs

(e) Any other activity/facility required for continuous and updated training.

(vii) Women’s development:

(a) Establishing specific activities for women’s education.

(b) Providing for training and orientation of women functionaries and activists.

(c) Training of women VEC members.

(d) Initiation of awareness generation programmes.

(viii) Management structures and MIS:

(a) The setting up of a State level registered society and district and sub-district level management structures to ensure flexibility and promptitude in decision making and flow of funds.

(b) The development and installation of an MIS system and facilities for data analysis. The system should be compatible with national system and should build upon school statistics, baseline studies and inputs monitoring.

3.4 Activities eligible at the state level for programme support would include those which seek to improve:

(a) the efficiency of State textbook preparation, publication and dissemination;

(b) effectiveness of in-service and pre-service primary teacher training and education;

3.5 At the district level, the eligible activities would include those which seek to improve:

(a) District capacity for programme management, supervision, monitoring and evaluation;

(b) the quality of primary education – formal and non-formal education; and

(c) targetting of support for access to and benefit from primary education for girls, SC and ST students.

3.6 The programme also offers support to States in shaping State Institutes of Educational Management and Training or equivalent institutional arrangements and strengthening of the District Institutes of Education an Training through equipment and staff development.

3.7 The District plans and State proposals for Programme support shall be prepared incorporating the principles of equity, feasibility, sustainability and replicability. The final outlay for each District would be determined after appraisal.

3.8 In keeping with the objectives of the Programme the formulation of the district plans would be through a process of capacity building rather than by entrusting the job as a turnkey assignment to consultants, institution or individual. Taking cognizance of the scarcity of project formulation skills the Programme envisages particular measures for strengthening state-level resource institutions and DIETs, networking of these institutions with NCERT and NIEPA on the one hand and with state level social sciences research organizations/IIMs/university departments on the other. Hitherto, the state level resource training. Hereafter equal emphasis would be laid on administration and management training for educational functionaries, NGOs and members of the VECs, district and sub-district project structure. One of the very first steps in project formulation would be to identify key level functionaries in the State Education Departments, SCERT and such organizations attached to Education Department, other State level organizations, and orient and then engage them in training state and district level functionaries. As far as possible the resource persons have to be drawn from a network of resource institutions so that they can help develop capabilities and be associated with the Programme on a long-term basis.

3.9 Each of the districts selected under the Programme would draw up a five to seven-year plan clearly spelling out:

(i) the present status of primary education;

(ii) the gap to be bridged between the present status and the Programme objectives;

(iii) the strategies;

(iv) the programme components; (vi) phasing;

(vii) unit cost;

(viii) the sources of funding which would comprise the ongoing State and Central schemes and the additional educational interventions the Programme would fund;

(ix) management structures;

(x) arrangements for monitoring with clearly specified benchmarks and indicators.

3.10 Simultaneously a state level plan would be formulated to spell out:

(i) the planning and management support for district planning and implementation;

(ii) strengthening of resource institutions;

(iii) linkages with state level social science research institutions/IIMs, university departments, NCERT and NIEPA;

(iv) training in pedagogy and management;

(v) streamlining of textbook production and distribution;

(vi) reducing the level of difficulty of language and mathematical learning materials;

(vii) management information system.

3.11 Project Preparation Activities

3.11.1 The following specific activities need to be taken up by States in the initial phase.

Organizational Activities

(i) Formation of core groups at State and district levels.

(ii) Training of State and district level core group and other functionaries.

(iii) Forgoing linkages between SCERT, state level social science research organisations/IIMs/university departments and NCERT/NIEPA.

(iv) Identification of resource persons in this network of resource organisations.

(v) Identification of State Project Director.

(vi) Registration of State level societies.

(vii) Framing of Financial/Procurement and Services Regulations of the Society.

Planning Activities

(viii) Organization of conventions and workshops for wide consultation on the action plan with groups of teachers, community leaders, women activists, representatives of disadvantaged section of the society, the non-governmental organisations and other stake holders in the primary education system.

(ix) Survey of school facilities, teaching-learning equipment.

(x) Identification of schools to be constructed/repaired.

(xi) Identification of the standard list of teaching-learning equipment that is to be provided.

(xii) Preparation of action plan would need to be based on :

(a) the current status of primary education in the districts selected, based on available data.

(b) a plan outlining the process for formulating the district projects.

(c) A programme for conducting the studies which need to be completed before pre-appraisal.

(d) An outline of the activities envisaged in the districts and at the state level with approximate unit costs, phasing, organizational arrangements for planning, implementation and monitoring.

(e) Development of management structure for the programme.

(f) Preparation of a construction manual.

(g) Development of a training plan for management, teacher training and pedagogical development.

(xiii) Local capacity building for professional inputs into the plan, preparation an assessment of plans.

(xiv) Improvement and further refinements in the first draft, based on the findings of studies conducted (see below under “Studies”) and processes.


The studies to be conducted for project preparation would include:

i) Conduct benchmark surveys on key educational indicators like enrolment, transition, retention, minimum levels of learning.

(ii) Conduct study on girls (gender perspective).

(iii) Conduct studies to develop appropriate teacher training, methodology and design.

(iv) Conduct studies on textbooks for education in areas predominantly inhabited by tribals.

(v) Conduct studies on state finances.

(vi) Studies on production and distribution of textbooks, NFE and other instructional materials.

(vii) Studies on educational needs of disadvantaged groups of society like SC/ST.

(viii) Such other studies as may be considered expedient.

Terms of reference and the methodology of the studies must be drawn up in consultation with the Government of India. The findings of the Studies would have significance for planning DPEP project interventions as well as initiating informed analysis amongst the many stakeholders in the primary education system. Hence arrangements will have to be made at the conclusion of the studies to disseminate its results through workshops at the state and district level. Sensitization to the issues at stake would encourage debate and local solutions would emerge.

3.12 Financial as well as technical assistance would be provided for project preparation and studies based on specific, well-delineated proposals.

3.13 The source of funding for implementation of the district plan and state level interventions would be:

(i) on-going central and state schemes, and

(ii) the funds the Programme would provide.

The programme would fund all educational activities which lead to the strengthening of the primary education in the district as well as certain State level interventions. Though the final outlay for each district would be determined after appraisal, it is anticipated that the average investment per district (inclusive of the district share of the state level interventions) would be within the ceiling of Rs 30-40 crores. Funding would be subject to a ceiling on the construction component, at 24 percent of the total project cost and a ceiling of 6 percent on management costs. This is to ensure that programme components receive a minimum of 70 per cent of the total project cost. The appraisal criteria would be equity, participatory process, feasibility, sustainability and replicability. States would have to clearly analyze the financial commitments involved in the project and their own ability to meet the recurring costs after the project period is over. The ability of the State Government to support the recurring liabilities of the Programme at the end of the Project period should be established.

3.14 Project Cycle

After a state is identified for being covered up under DPEP by the GOI, the State would be required to draw up State and District proposals. At the national level there would be a resource team to examine and appraise these proposals. This national resource team of appraisers would be joined by expert teams fielded by the external agency funding the programme. Appraisal Resource team will provide on-site technical assistance and appraisal for state and district proposals. Four missions would be conducted for each state: (1) Identification Mission at the identification of the State and Districts; (2) Preparation Mission at the initiation of project preparation; (3) Pre-appraisal Mission on completion of draft proposals, (4) Appraisal mission on completion of revised proposals. The national resource team on appraisal will have expertise in educational planning and statistics, civil works, in-service training, community participation, programme management, special programmes for women/girls and SC/ST. Each visit will be for a duration of four weeks. 3.15 The process by which the district/state proposals would be drawn up and approved for DPEP is indicated as follows:


Identification of districts by the concerned State Government according to DPEP criteria.

Approval of district selections by DPEP bureau in GOI.

Collection of a consistent set of basic information for the identified districts/state in standard formats.

Identification of the District Planning Teams by concerned State Government.

Identification of State Planning Team.


Identification Mission through a workshop and local visits will set the basic framework of planning;

Identify the issues and problems in the existing system;

Orient the district and state planning teams;

Set up the planning processes;

Identify studies that need to be conducted;

Identify State Resources team for conduct of each study;

Prepare the terms of reference of each study planned;

Identify the local institutional/human resources with a view to establish a network for use by DPEP;

Identify the broad strategies to tackle the identified issues through group work of District and State Planning teams;

Identify the management structure for the project and other related issues.


Participatory planning at block, subdivision and district level, their documentation for each district and block;

Refinement of issues in the light of community participation and documentation of strategies districts and block wise. Mapping of school facilities;

Preparation of maps and information for school siting as per format;

Completion of the field works of Studies and availability of the raw data and first findings;

Preparation of first draft districts and state proposals with quantitative targets.


Field Visits to district and institutions; the quantitative aspects of the proposals would be looked into with great care and detail, i.e.; the targets set, the unit costs, time estimation for completion of an activity and the like;

Scrutiny of the first draft proposals with district and State Planning Teams with reference to; Civil construction and site availability for such construction plans; Checking of the internal consistency of the proposals – component wise; Existing capacity available within the district and State to carry out the Tasks set for themselves; Current utilization of the existing institutions for betterment of the primary education system; Additionality of the activities proposed; Feasibility of the activities proposed; Sustainability of the activity proposed and Sharing of the Preliminary Findings of the studies in a workshop with local community – Preparation Mission Team to participate in one such workshop.


Final report of Studies; completion of sharing of the studies in all the districts

Revision of preliminary district/state proposals and cost estimates for eligible activities according to DPEP criteria and guidelines, results of studies and recommendations of the preparation mission;

Preparation of state proposals for capacity building

Preparation in consultation with GOI, of:

Draft Memorandum of Association for the implementation Society;

Draft bye-laws of financial regulations and procurement manual;

Draft service regulations;

Draft construction manual.


Scrutiny of district proposals by DPEP. The quantitative aspects of the plan and therefore the costs of the district proposals would be finalized. The focus would shift on the operational aspects of plan implementation, like;

Examination of construction process (Manual)

Examination of draft rules and bye-laws of the Society.

Examination of the financial and service regulations of the Society.

Examination of the Procurement rules for goods and services by the Society.


Finalize the proposals in accordance with earlier recommendations.

Obtain necessary approvals for project management structure.

Obtain necessary approvals for the rules, regulations and bye-laws.


Appraisal would be document-based and no field visits are envisaged. The documents therefore need to be self contained and comprehensive. The practice of providing supplementary information at this stage would be discouraged. At appraisal stage it is expected that the interacting parties would come up with the agreements to be reached amongst themselves for implementation of the programme.

Forty Years of Arun C Mehta at NIEPA: 1980 to 2019 (e-Book)

Forty years of Arun C Mehta at NIEPA: 1980 to 2019

Times of India, New Delhi, 21st September 2021

UDISE, Interview of Prof. Arun C Mehta in Times of India, New Delhi, 21st September 2021