School toilets: UP spent 900 per cent above budget under SSA



New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh government has spent a whopping 900 per cent above the budget allocated for building school toilets under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan with nearly 60 per cent of the total Rs 32.25 crore going just to one district.

Under the central government scheme, Rs 24,000 per unit were allocated for constructing 1,538 toilets during the five year period of 2007-08 to 2011-12 which comes to about Rs 3.69 crore while an RTI response reveals that state government spent Rs 32.25 crore for the work during the period.

Nearly 60 per cent of the total funds or Rs 19 crore released during the period went to Agra district while rest was distributed in the remaining 74 districts of the state, a RTI response from Basic Education Department has revealed.

Jyotiba Phule Nagar and Kashiram Nagar, both named on the Dalit ideologues, were among four districts which were not allocated any funds for building toilets in schools even though BSP, which christened them, was in power for almost entire 2007-12 period for which data has been provided.

The startling details received by Lucknow-based RTI activist Urvashi Sharma show that under SSA, Rs 32.25 crore of central funds were released by the state for building toilets in schools which comes to about Rs 2.09 lakh per school, nearly nine times or 900 per cent of the budget.

The response says of the total Rs 32.25 crore released, Rs 24.88 crore were utilised.

After Agra, Ghazipur, Meerut and Pratapgarh were the other leading districts which received Rs 1.61 crore, Rs 1.23 crore and 1.21 crore respectively. State capital Lucknow was given a paltry sum of Rs 33 lakh during that period.

The RTI response said between 2007-12, 1,538 toilets for schools were sanctioned, which have been completed.

"The central government has allocated funds of Rs 24,000 per toilet under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan. Since April 1, 2007 to October 31, 2012, Rs 32.25 crore were released to districts from the budget allocated for construction of toilets in schools. The central government does not give funds in different heads under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan," it said.

According to Union Human Resources Development Ministry, 28,956 girl schools funded under SSA were without toilets in Uttar Pradesh where as 12,157 boys schools also lacked these basic facilities till September 2011.

"Central funds under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) are released to the states/union territories for the implementation of interventions approved under the Annual Work Plan and Budget of that state. The state SSA programme further disburses funds to the districts for specific activities under SSA including construction of toilets," the statement given in Rajya Sabha on March 8 this year said.

In SSA, central government works in partnership with state governments with fund sharing of 65:35 ratio between Centre and states in 2007-08 and 2008-09, 60:40 ratio in 2009-10, 55:45 ratio in 2010-11 and 50:50 ratio in 2011-12 and thereafter. The scheme covers entire country and addresses the needs of 192 million children in 1.1 million habitations.

PTI