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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”