Union Budget 2022: Centre released only 38% of SSA budget till October, says study

Budget 2022: Only five of the 20 largest states received more than half the funds for a school system ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Union Budget 2022: Centre released only 38% of SSA budget till October, says study Budget 2022: The analysis also found that the central government's budget allocations were lower for most states (source: Shutterstock)
Atul Krishna | Jan 24, 2022 - 1:16 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The union government had released only 38 percent of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan funds to states till October 2021, according to an analysis by the Centre for Policy Research, a public policy research institute in Delhi.

According to the analysis, Only five out of the 20 largest states received more than half of the funds in the first seven months. Not only was the pace of fund release slow, the amounts released were also “considerably lower”. This was despite the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacting the school systems and learning; educationists and activists have been seeking increased allocations to make up for the learning deficit.

The Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the largest school education scheme in the country. In Budget 2021, more than Rs 8,000 crore was cut from SSA funds. The budget allocation for school education also saw a cut of close to Rs 5,000 crore.

The union government, in August 2021, had announced a total budget of Rs 3 lakh crore for the scheme till 2026.

SSA funds not released

According to the analysis, the central government only released Rs 11,945 crore of the total Rs 31,050 crores allocated for the scheme.

“Pace of release of Government of India (GoI) share has been slow for most states in FY 2021-22. At the end of the first seven months of FY 2021-22, only 5 out of the 20 large states received more than half of their central allocations. Proportion of GoI share released to the rest of the 15 states ranged between 14 to 25 per cent,” the analysis said.

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Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh were the states to receive the lowest share of funds. Till October 2021, Himachal Pradesh only received 14 percent of the allocated funds, despite seeing an increase in overall budget allocation, and Uttar Pradesh only received 19 percent.

West Bengal (73%) is the state that has received the most funds out of the central government’s share followed by Jharkhand (69%), Bihar (64%), and Odisha (63%).

Low release, low utilisation

The states could utilise only 27 percent of their total approved budgets till November 30 , 2021, the analysis found. It said that the low utilisation of the funds is also due to the slow release of the central funds.

The analysis said that the findings are consistent with past year’s data. In 2019-20, although allocations for SSA increased in absolute terms, only 89 percent of the share was released to the states.

In 2020-21, only six out of the 20 largest states received more than 90 percent of the approved central government share of SSA funds. Chhattisgarh and Telangana received only 39 percent and 40 percent of the central share respectively in 2020-21, the analysis said.

Funds cut for 17 states

The analysis also found that the central allocation to states was “considerably lower” in the last two years.

“The last two years have seen a decrease in the quantum of funds approved for most states. 17 out of 19 states analysed witnessed a decrease in budgets between FY 2019-20 and FY 2020-21. Budgets further declined in FY 2021-22 for 14 states,” the analysis said.

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As compared to 2020-21, Odisha had the highest decrease in allocated funds in 2021-22 followed by Gujarat. Odisha saw a 27 percent decrease in budget allocations for SSA and Gujarat saw a 19 percent decrease.

The budget allocation for Maharashtra saw a steep decline in 2020-21. In 2021-22, the allocation has remained the same as last year.

However, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh saw relatively higher increases at 7 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

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