Governance Unutilised Budgetary Funds in Education

Why in News Recently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development (HRD) has presented a report on the 2020-2021 demand for grants for school education in the Rajya Sabha. The report identifies shortfalls in budgetary funding and utilisation, resulting in critical infrastructure gaps in the government schools in India. Key Points Reduction in Finance: The budgetary allocations experienced a 27% cut from proposals made by the School Education department. Similarly, 27% of reductions have been observed in the fund needed for the implementation of Central and Centrally Sponsored Schemes. Also, the government has spent only 71% of allotted funds for the core Samagra Shiksha Scheme until December 31, 2019. Access to Electricity and Playground: Almost half of the government schools in the country do not have any electricity or playgrounds. Only 56% of schools have electricity, with the lowest rates in Manipur and Madhya Pradesh, where less than 20% have access to power. Less than 57% of schools have playgrounds, including less than 30% of schools in Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir. Overall Infrastructure: A dismal rate of progress has been observed in building classrooms, labs and libraries to strengthen government higher secondary schools. Almost 40% of schools did not have a boundary wall, endangering the safety of students and school property. The higher secondary schools experienced greater infrastructural gaps compared to secondary schools and primary schools. Also, less than 5% of proposed infrastructure facilities such as ramps and special toilets for differently-abled students have been completed in the government schools. Recommendations Additional funds for implementation of the core schemes such as Samgra Shiksha Abhiyan. Collaboration of HRD Ministry with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to construct boundary walls and other infrastructure facilities. Collaboration with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to provide solar energy and other renewable energy sources so that schools have access to power.
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