Punjab govt misses targets, state gets lowest fund per student in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Punjab govt misses targets, state gets lowest fund per student in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Centre allocated Rs 5,111 per student to the cash-strapped Punjab government against the average per-student allocation of Rs 6,350 last year

punjab Updated: Jul 04, 2017 09:15 IST
Navneet Sharma
The HRD ministry, in its sanction letter sent last month, advised the Punjab government to spend at least 30% of the releases on quality of education.
The HRD ministry, in its sanction letter sent last month, advised the Punjab government to spend at least 30% of the releases on quality of education. (HT File Photo)

Punjab is not just cash-strapped, its fiscal strain is also adding to its woes. The state was allocated the lowest per student fund for primary and upper primary education among the northern states under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in 2016-17.

The Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) allocated Rs 5,111 per student to the cash-strapped state government last year against the average per-student allocation of Rs 6,350 last year under the flagship elementary education programme. The sanctioned amount was lowest among the northern states of Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Jammu and Kashmir was allocated Rs 20,129 per student, the highest in the country, whereas Himachal Pradesh was sanctioned Rs 7,354, Haryana Rs 6,385, and Rajasthan Rs 9,363, shows an analysis carried out by accountability initiative of trends in the SSA allocations and expenditure.

State of the region
  • Jammu and Kashmir: Rs 20,129
  • Rajasthan: Rs 9,363
  • Himachal Pradesh: Rs 7,354
  • Haryana: Rs 6,385
  • Punjab: Rs 5,111
  • (Source: Accountability Initiative)

Besides these northern states, several other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh were allocated higher amounts of money per student by the Centre to supplement their efforts for universalisation of quality education under the programme.

An expert associated with Educational Consultants India Limited (EdCIL) says the fund allocation depends on a state’s ability to take initiatives for improving quality of education, provide the matching state share and meet targets for development of school infrastructure within the year. “In case of Punjab, the government’s inability to provide its matching state share and meet the targets in the given timeframe probably affected its fund allocation over the years. The funds are released in instalments and are directly related to quarterly spending,” she said. The EdCIL is a consultancy and project management organisation under the ministry.

In 2017-18, the project approval board of the MHRD has okayed Rs 1,139 crore — again the lowest per students allocation in the region — for Punjab on fund sharing ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and the state government. Of this, Rs 524 crore have been sanctioned for payment of salaries to teachers appointed under the programme and Rs 214 crore are for construction of classrooms, new school buildings, toilets etc. The balance amount is for quality education initiatives, such as inclusive education, special schools for girls, teachers’ training, learning enhancement programme and development of teaching-learning material — a high-priority area for the ministry under the scheme started in 2002.

The HRD ministry, in its sanction letter sent last month, advised the state government to spend at least 30% of the releases on quality of education.

Last year, the central ministry had approved an outlay of Rs 1,059 crore of which the state education department spent Rs 811 crore. And a bulk of it was spent on teachers’ salaries, construction of classrooms and school maintenance.

The fund allocation and expenditure analysis shows that 23% share of the fund allocation was earmarked for infrastructure expenses, such as construction and maintenance in 2015-16, but the state authorities spent 59%. Similarly, 50% funds were allocated for teachers – most of it going into payment of salaries – but the expenditure was 63%.