Direct SSA funds for school panels
As one of the prerequisites of the plan, all School Development and Monitoring Committees (SDMCs — the implementing agency of the SSA at the school level, present in every government school and comprising the headmaster and parents of a few students) will need to have an account with a nationalised bank. All the bank account information of the SDMCs will be with the SSA. The SSA will, in turn, have the option to access these accounts, check current balance, payments made, etc, any time and thereby monitor the timely delivery and use of the funds.
Under the earlier procedure, funds for any programme of the SSA trickled down from top to bottom. It went from SSA to the district education offices like those of DDPIs, then to the block offices and finally to the SDMCs. In the entire process, there were a number of discrepancies that prevented funds from reaching the beneficiaries and being properly utilised.
Besides the untimely release of funds for various programmes at the grassroots level, there was another peculiar problem. “Funds are originally allocated for a particular programme. At the district level, however, the plan gets changed without intimation to the head office and funds are diverted to other plans. They, therefore, don’t get allocated for the original purpose,” according to Subodh Yadav, State Project Director, SSA.
The new move, while checking such problems, aims at decentralising the entire process of utilisation of funds and enables the SSA to monitor the spending pattern.
Asked about the possibility of misuse and diversion of funds at the grassroots levels, Yadav said the new system had the capability to pinpoint the source of discrepancy, thereby reducing such chances. “We already know the amount that has been allocated to a particular programme and to particular implementing agencies, so the chances of misuse are reduced. Moreover, we will monitor the spending pattern, once the money is allocated,” he said.
The DDPIs and BEOs will be informed about the release of funds to the SDMCs and they, along with the block resource persons and cluster resource persons, will monitor their use.
Sources said that details of 80 to 90 per cent of bank accounts of SDMCs were already with the SSA.
At the presently time, the authenticity of such account details is being verified.