School Education Budget: Only 57% funds for scheme released by Dec

School Education Budget: Only 57% funds for scheme released by Dec
Picture used for representational purpose only (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Atul Krishna | Jan 31, 2020 - 11:59 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Central government had released only 57 percent of the approved fund for Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) by December 15, 2019, according to an analysis by Accountability Initiative of the Centre for Policy Research.

The Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan is the main vehicle for implementing the Right to Education Act 2009 for Classes 1 to 8 and, since 2018, also supports secondary education, Classes 9 and 10.

The BJP government allocated Rs 36,322 crores for SSA in 2019-20, an 18 percent increase over last year. But the pace of release was slower in contrast to 2018-19 when 95 percent of funds were released over the first three quarters, the report noted.

The following chart shows the percentage of funds released by the third quarter over the past few years, as per Accountability Initiative's report. In 2018-19, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for elementary education and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) for secondary education were merged to formed the combined scheme, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan.

Year
Funds released for SSA (In % of budget)
Funds released for RMSA (In % of budget)
Funds released Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (In % of budget)
2016-17
96
100
-
2017-18
100
103
-
2018-19
-
-
95
2019-20
-
-
57


Low usage by states

The slow release of funds has also affected state spending. During the first seven months of this year, states had spent only 22 per cent of the total approved budget under SSA.

Both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka spent the highest by disbursing 32 per cent of their approved budgets, the most among the 18 large states, while Kerala (10 per cent) and West Bengal (6 percent) spent the lowest.

Slow release of funds also meant that states were not able to spend it by the next financial year, leading to spill-overs. Spill-overs are unutilized funds that are incorporated into the next budget.

For 2019-20, 30 percent of Uttarakhand’s approved budget and 26 per cent of Chhattisgarh’s approved budget was in the form of spill-overs. In contrast, spill-overs accounted for only 4 percent of Uttar Pradesh and 3 percent of Tamil Nadu’s state budgets.

Approved funds for states

There is also a marked difference between budgets proposed by states and those approved by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Budgets are approved by the MHRD’s Project Approval Board (PAB) after negotiations with the States.

For instance, the report showed that in 2019-20 excess budgets were approved for Jharkhand (104 percent) and Haryana (102 percent). Incidentally, both had Assembly elections in 2019. In contrast, Bihar (53 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (49 per cent) received only half of what they had proposed in the same year.

The budget allocation varied year by year as well. Maharashtra was approved 80 percent of the proposed budget in 2019-20 when it only received 57 percent of the proposed budget in 2018-19. Meanwhile, the reverse was true for states like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Bihar.

Since the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan now covers both elementary and secondary education, Accountability Initiative looked at which level was claiming maximum funds in the states. The chart below shows the top five states that have allocated the maximum SSA funds to secondary education.

State
SSA funds for Secondary Education (In % of allocation)
Haryana48
Himachal Pradesh41
Chhattisgarh34
Andhra Pradesh33
Uttarakhand31


Students and teachers

The overall average for approved budget per student increased from Rs 4,442 in 2018-19 to Rs 4,958, but teacher vacancies remained high in most states.

Himachal Pradesh leads the list with an allocated budget of Rs 9,969 per student, followed by Uttrakhand with Rs 9,452. Interestingly, Kerala, which topped Niti Aayog’s School Education Quality Index, is the second-worst with Rs 2,180 per student. Only Maharashtra, which spends Rs 1,727, does worse.

These are the large states that had the highest per-student allocation under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan in 2019-20 and 2018-19.

Top 5 States
2018-19 (In Rs.)
2019-20 (In Rs.)
Himachal Pradesh
9,433
9,969
Uttarakhand9,1109,452
Haryana6,7227,686
Andhra Pradesh6,6657,513
Rajasthan6,9177,429


In 2018-19, for elementary-level (Classes 1 to 8) teachers among the large states, the vacancy rate was highest in Uttar Pradesh (44 per cent), followed by Jharkhand (42 per cent).

For secondary (Classes 9, 10) and senior secondary (Classes 11, 12), Jharkhand had the highest vacancy rates with 81 percent and 84 percent respectively. Uttar Pradesh was the second worst with vacancy rates of 65 percent in secondary and 67 percent in higher secondary.

In contrast, vacancy for elementary level teachers was lowest in Kerala (1 percent) closely followed by Gujarat (2 percent) and Tamil Nadu (4 percent). Meanwhile, Maharashtra had no teacher vacancy in secondary and higher secondary levels.

Mid-day meal

For the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme, the budget proposals of 25 states for 2019-20 were approved in their entirety by the Centre. In 2018-19, only 17 states received the same treatment, the report said.

The budget estimate for 2019-20 has also seen a 11 percent increase from the revised estimates of last year.

In 2018, Manipur (59%), Kerala (75%) and Jharkhand (76%) received less funds than was promised. While Telangana (131 %), Mizoram (115 %), and Maharashtra (102 %) received more.

Only Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Haryana received exactly 100 percent of the proposed budget.


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