With the Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) releasing just half of the budget allocated under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), child-centred activities in UT government schools have been suffering.
Implementation of self-defence training, remedial teaching and other components that are given the go-ahead by the Project Approval Board (PAB) were affected last year due to fund crunch.
Sources say this year, too, children will have to suffer too.
In 2015-16, the PAB, which is under the MHRD, released only 60% of the approved budget to UT. Against the allocation of Rs 59 crore, only Rs 35 crore were disbursed. The balance, Rs 24 crore, never came.
In 2016-17, the PAB had approved Rs 65 crore budget under the SSA. But the amount disbursed to UT was just 50%: Rs 33 crore. Now, in 2017-18, once again the UT has received only 45% of the sanctioned Rs 68 crore in the first instalment, even as it had requested for at least 60%.
SHARING PATTERN REVISED, NO CHANGE ON GROUND
Till 2015-16, the Centre and state/ UT used to share the SSA burden in the ratio of 60:40.
In October 2015, the Centre revised the sharing pattern and decided to take 100% responsibility of UTs. It was also decided that the notification will be applicable from start of the financial year: April 1, 2015.
However, the MHRD released only 60% of the amount.
As a result, many child-centric activities could not be performed at UT government schools.
The education department, in fact, had to release salaries of 1,000 teachers working under the SSA out of the state budget. For it, it had to take Rs 23-crore loan from the Chandigarh Housing Board and Chandigarh Renewal Energy and Science & Technology (CREST).
The SSA teachers welfare association protested twice and also sent a legal notice to the UT administration, finance ministry and MHRD in February 2017. The association also took up the issue with the member of Parliament Kirron Kher.
In March 2017, the UT administrator wrote to the HRD minister to release 100% of the allocated budget to Chandigarh.
AND ITS SAME OLD STORY THIS YEAR
The MHRD ministry promised to give 60% of the budget for meeting the SSA expenses up to October 2017.
But in the first instalment only Rs 31 crore of Rs 68 crore were released.
UT education secretary KK Jindal said: “the Centre has assured us of the release of the remaining amount. None of the activities will suffer. Funds have already started coming in.”
Already, teachers are awaiting their salaries for May and June besides 10% of the dues for April.
If MHRD fails to release the remaining amount before October, 850 teachers may suffer in September and October as well.
“Now the education department will have to pick and choose: whether to give the salaries or to organise activities for children,” said Arvind Rana, president of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan teachers’ welfare association. “Both can’t be done with just 45% of the amount. Last year, too, children were deprived of important activities, including remedial classes in Classes 6-8.”
Rana said with the next instalment being released in November, the department will have to struggle again.
Intro: Earlier 60%, the Centre’s share under SSA was enhanced to 100% in 2015
Fiscal Allocated Released Share
2015-16 ₹59 cr ₹35 cr 60%
2016-17 ₹65 cr ₹33 cr 50%
2017-18 ₹68 cr ₹31 cr 45% (first instalment)
Caption: Due to fund crunch, implementation of self-defence training, remedial teaching and other child-centric components under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan are being hampered at government schools in Chandigarh. HT file