How serious is govt about RTE?

Budget allocation is less than half the requirement

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | March 6, 2010



If the budgetary allocation made for the implementation of the Right to Education Act 2009, is anything to go by, the government is not serious about its effective implementation, say the experts.

The governmenrt has set aside Rs 15,000 crore, out of a total of Rs 31,036 crore sanctioned to the department of school education and literacy. This is not even half of what an expert commitee had estimated to be required to implement the law. The annual requirement had been calculated at Rs 34,000 crore by this committee set up by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE).

The law, when implemented, will create a framework for legal entitlements for all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years to education of good quality, based on principles of equity and non-discrimination.

Vinod Raina, a member of CABE who helped in drafting the bill, agrees that the budget allocation is less and that much more funds will have to be provided to properly ensure every child goies to the school.

Surprisingly, many states, including Bihar, UP, Orissa, Assam and West Bengal have not been able to utilise SSA grants of previous years. Raina says, "estimates suggest that nearly Rs 10,000 crore already sanctioned remain unutilised with the states. When added to the budgetary allocation of Rs 15,000 crore, the total sum works out to Rs 25,000 crore. The finance minister has also indicated that around Rs 3,675 crore have been directly allocated by the Finance Commission to the states for elementary education. This would close the gap but still the government needs to pay more attention to this."

Anil Sadgopal, former member of CABE and an educationist says thatthe government is not serious because it will not affect their children.

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