Skip to main content

Unequal treatment: Kendiya Vidyalaya spends Rs 27,000 per child; govt schools Rs 3,000

Counterview Desk
A recent policy brief by Oxfam, “India Public Good or Private Wealth? The India Story”, insists that “universal health, education and other public services reduce the gap between rich and poor, and between women and men”, something that is not happening in India today.
Insisting that “a fairer taxation of the wealthiest can help pay for them”, the report states, “The per child unit cost in government-run Kendriya Vidyalaya schools for central government employees in transferable jobs is INR 27,000 per child compared to INR 3,000 per student in other Government schools across India.” 
According to the report, “In tangible terms, it means that India spends INR 1,112 per person on public health per capita every year. This is less than the cost of a single consultation at the country’s top private hospitals or roughly the cost of a pizza at many hotels. That comes to INR 93 per month or INR 3 per day.”

Excerpts:

While a fair society should offer equal opportunities to all its children, it is often economic status or social identity that dictates its destiny. Forty-two percent of India’s tribal children are underweight, 1.5 times higher than non-tribal children. Children from poor families in India are three times more likely to die before their first birthday than children from rich families. A Dalit woman can expect to live almost 14.6 years less than one from a high-caste.
While the literacy rate in Kerala, Mizoram and the UT of Lakshadweep is over 90%, it is just little above 60% in Bihar. The percentage of children and young people who were never enrolled in school (age group 5-29) in rural areas is double than that of urban areas (National Sample Survey Organizatoin).
In India, girls belonging to rich families (top 20%) get on an average nine years of education, while girls from poor families (bottom 20%) get none at all. This is not to deny that significant gains have been made since independence. The average longevity has increased dramatically and school enrolment rates have increased. However, India continues to underperform against its own constitutional commitments of creating a just and fair society where every citizen is equally valued.
Addressing these inequalities in achieving human potential requires a robust system of public provisioning of essential services. Yet, there are major gaps in public services in India. A large part of India has accepted the inevitability that public services, especially those targeted at the poor, are of poor quality. The reasons are manifold.
There is an acute shortage of health specialists in rural areas. In 2012, according to the World Bank, India had 0.7 doctors per thousand people. In contrast, the United Kingdom had 2.8 doctors per 1000 persons and China had 1.8 doctors per 1000 persons.
Barely 12.7% of India’s schools comply with the minimum norms laid down under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE). There are huge differences between states; it ranges from 39% in Gujarat to less than 1% in Nagaland, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Lakshadweep. While almost all teachers in schools in Delhi, Gujarat, and Puducherry have the requisite academic qualifications, 70% of teachers in Meghalaya continue to lack the necessary qualifications. Where a child is born continues to determine a child’s destiny.
At the heart of this continued poor quality of provision is chronic under investment in public services. Despite India graduating to a lower-middle-income country and accounting for 1/5th of the global burden of disease burden, its public spending on health continues to hover around 1.3% of its GDP compared to the commitment made under the National Health Policy, 2017 to increase this to 2.5% of GDP by 2025.
Similarly, India’s spending on education has hovered at under 4%, despite successive governments’ electoral commitment to spending 6% of its GDP on education. This is not just a function of meeting an arbitrary figure. India continues to fail to spend what is necessary to realize the minimal norms laid down under the RTE Act. Thus, Bihar spends only 30% of what is required to implement the Act in totality i.e. getting all children into school, hiring the minimum numbers of teachers required, putting infrastructure in place, and placing a textbook in the hands of each learner.
Research points to a clear correlation between actual per pupil expenditure and learning outcomes. A functional school is an essential, if not adequate, condition for any sustainable improvement in India’s education system. While spending on education has to be equitable, the government itself often discriminates financially.
For example, the per child unit cost in government-run Kendriya Vidyalaya schools for central government employees in transferable jobs is INR 27,000 per child compared to INR 3,000 per student in other Government schools across India. The government needs to practice more equitable distribution and investment in children in the country and raise the per child expenditure in non-Kendriya Vidyalaya schools.
In tangible terms, it means that India spends INR 1,112 per person on public health per capita every year. This is less than the cost of a single consultation at the country’s top private hospitals or roughly the cost of a pizza at many hotels. That comes to INR 93 per month or INR 3 per day.
Indians, therefore, have no other choice but to spend out of pocket on health. As a result, 63 million people are pushed into poverty every year. A fifth of the ill in both rural and urban areas deny themselves treatment; 68% of patients in urban India and 57% in rural areas attributed “financial constraints” as the main reason to take treatment without any medical advice.
Insurance does not offer an alternative, not least given that most insurance schemes (including the new Ayushman Bharat) fail to cover outpatient costs that account for 68% of expenses. 
Ironically while India attracts a large number of foreign patients for medical tourism on the plank of ‘world class services at low cost’, only 11% of its Sub Health Centres (SHC) and 16% of Primary Health Centres (PHC) meet the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS). 
India manages to simultaneously rank 5th on the Medical Tourism Index and 145th among 195 countries in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare.

Comments

TRENDING

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.