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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

South Delhi corp says no money for winter uniform subsidy

cities Updated: Oct 12, 2019 21:34 IST


New Delhi

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s (SDMC) education department says it is unable to disburse subsidy for winter uniforms to its 2.53 lakh primary school students.

Senior municipal officers said the Delhi government had made a budgetary allocation of Rs 47 crore under the ‘education general’ head to SDMC earlier this year, of which only the first installment of 25% — Rs 11.75 crore, — was received in July.

The corporation says it is yet to receive the second and third installments, which would have amounted to another 50% —Rs 23.5 crore— of the total amount and was expected in September.

The ‘education general’ head includes money that is distributed to municipal school students for free textbooks, scholarship, uniforms and medical aids such as spectacles under ‘welfare schemes.’

The Delhi government’s education and press and information departments did not respond to requests for a response on the matter.

A senior Delhi Government official, who did not wish to be named, only said, “We have started the process for fund disbursal.”

The north and east Delhi municipal corporations also said they had not received the second and/or third instalments from the Delhi government. However, they had “some money left over from the last financial year and used it to distribute the uniform subsidy recently”.

SDMC officials said they needed at least Rs. 29 crore to provide six items -- full shirt, skirt/trouser, jersey, belt, socks and shoes -- to their 2.53 lakh students.

Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, Rs 1,100 of subsidy for uniform is transferred to each student’s bank account, from nursery to class 5, across 581 SDMC schools, annually.

Nandini Sharma, education committee chairperson, SDMC, said, “This is a very sensitive issue and every passing day is critical for us as it is mid-October already. If we don’t get the allocated money from the Delhi government even now, it will become very difficult for the parents to purchase uniforms in time. Since these are small children, up to age 11 years only, they might fall sick.”

Sharma said she had written a letter to Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia but is yet to get a response.

A senior official of SDMC’s education department said they had faced the same problem last year as well.

“In the last financial year (2018-19), the budgetary allocation itself was very low, only Rs. 14 crore under the ‘education general’ head as opposed to Rs 47 crore this year (2019-20),” said an official requesting anonymity.

“We kept waiting for financial help from the Delhi government till November-end and finally transferred half the subsidy amount (Rs 550 per student as opposed to Rs. 1,100) on December 5, gathered through our own means. This was very late,” he said.

First Published: Oct 12, 2019 21:34 IST

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