Parl panel concerned over SSA-RTE programme

A Parliamentary panel has expressed concern over "insufficient" fund allocation for the flagship Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan-Right to Education programme.

New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel has expressed concern over "insufficient" fund allocation for the flagship SSA-RTE programme this fiscal fearing this could hinder the programme`s implementation within the specific time frame.

It said the allocation of Rs 45,969 crore as against the projected requirement of Rs 85,019 crore would "compel the HRD Ministry to cut down or withdraw" from other schemes.

"The committee apprehends that insufficiency of funds could also lead to hindrance in the implementation of Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan-Right to Education (SSA-RTE) programmes which entails specific time-frame," the panel said in its report.

It was also critical of unused and under-utilised funds for various education related schemes, asking the Ministry to address the issue on an "urgent basis".

Under SSA for example, it said the unspent balance was to the tune of Rs 691465 lakh till December 31, 2011 while the unspent money under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Siskhya Abhiyan was Rs 103219 lakh.

Referring to the states with maximum amount of unspent balance under SSA, it sought to recommend the ministry to be "more vigilant in realising its fiscal responsibilities".

Such states are Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka, Assam, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh.

"The ministry should initiate steps for liquidating old pending utilising certificates and making the implementing agencies liable for the same. It should also pursue the issue of unspent balance with the state governments to ensure that allocated funds are utilised optimally and judiciously," the panel suggested.

The panel also took note of the grim picture of the high
dropout rate of students hailing from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and asked the ministry to identify specific problems that contribute to such rates.

The Committee observed that there are several challenges ahead of the ministry in the 12th Plan, the "major one being fund constraint".

It said while coordinating with states and creating awareness about various schemes, the ministry would require a "monitoring mechanism" especially while creating awareness about RTE.

The panel on HRD Ministry also recommended "immediate steps" to be taken for filling up of all sanctioned teaching posts.