The government is going to resume paying non-salary grants to cash-strapped private, aided schools across the state. They had stopped giving these grants, which are used for infrastructure, stationery, electricity and other development activities, to schools in 2004.
In a government resolution (GR) issued last week, the government sanctioned the release of Rs266.82 crore for non-salary grants to aided schools from April 1, 2013, for expenses in the previous financial year.
The new order also states that schools will receive 5% of the quantum of salary grants as non-salary grants based on the fifth pay commission from April 1, 2008. Schools will not receive any arrears before the period before that.
“The amount has been sanctioned for expenses incurred in the previous financial year,” said NB Chavan, deputy director of education, Mumbai region.
There are around 1,800 private, aided schools in the city and more than 20,000 in the state.
The new order comes as good news for schools, which were unable to undertake development, repair and maintenance work because the money stopped coming eight years ago. Some schools were forced to hike fees to help meet expenses.
“This is a great relief,” said Sucheta Bhawalkar, principal of IES VN Sule Guruji English Secondary School in Dadar. “It will make a big difference, even though they are only releasing a small amount. Schools were suffering because there were no funds for development, infrastructure and activities. Principals were in a soup.”
However, some have objected to some aspects of the order and have already submitted their concerns to government officials.
“They should calculate non-salary grants on the basis of the sixth and not fifth pay commission,” said Anil Bornare, sanghatan mantri, Maharashtra Rajya Shikshan Parishad. “Many institutions are in bad shape and have taken loans to meet expenses.”
In 2004, the government stopped paying non-salary grants. After several protests and delegations, the government had set up a committee to study the issue of non-salary grants in 2008. In October last year, they decided to resume funding and the GR was issued on January 19.