Budgetary outlay for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan falls short

Budgetary outlay for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan falls short

The finance ministry has allocated a mere Rs 23,500 crore for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for 2017-18, though the human resource development ministry needs more than double that outlay to “reorient” the programme “for enhancing learning outcomes”.

The HRD ministry’s department of school education and literacy had requested the finance ministry for allocation of at least Rs 55,000 crore for implementation of the scheme during 2017-18.

In the last fiscal too the department had sought Rs 55,000 crore under a revised sharing ratio between the Centre and the states. However, the finance ministry earmarked only Rs 22,015.42 crore.

During the course of the last fiscal, the department approached the finance ministry, seeking an additional allocation of Rs 21,957 crore to meet the SSA expenditure, but to no avail. 

“The major challenge under the SSA is to implement the initiatives that the ministry has taken to improve the quality of education at the elementary level,” the ministry told a parliamentary standing committee in response to the panel’s recommendations for enhancing the total outlay.

The HRD ministry wants to “reorient” the Centre’s flagship programme mainly to keep the focus on improving the quality of elementary education through its implementation along with the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

“This requires additional funds so that after fulfilling the commitment towards teachers’  salary, there are still adequate funds left to implement initiatives to improve quality. The cut in allocation has hampered achieving targets and outcomes specified for the SSA-RTE programme,” the ministry told the parliamentary panel.

The revised estimate for SSA in 2015-16 was Rs 22,015.42 crore, which was not sufficient even for the release of the “full requirement of the second instalment of the central share due to states and Union Territories”.

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