Skip to main content

Thrust area? Gujarat spending on education 'fails to improve' vis-à-vis other states

By Prof Atman Shah*, Abhishek Mishra**
Gujarat is one of the economically developed states of India, but when it comes to human development, particularly education and health, its performance is quite poor. In 1999-2000, Gujarat’s rank in the per capita Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) was 5th, but 9th in Human Development Index (HDI) among major states of India. The ranking in HDI deteriorated between 1999-2000 and 2007-08, reduced to 10th in 2007-08. There is little evidence to show it has improved thereafter.
One of the reasons behind this is lower spending on education and health. It is now a well-established fact that higher spending on social services like education and health help poorer sections of society to avail them. Education spending of the Gujarat government is the main focus of this article.
The Kothari Commission, in 1966, recommended spending 6% of the national income on education. The Subramanian Committee also recommended the same proportion. However, mere allocation does not help to improve the quality of services. Quantity and quality both matter in order to reach out to the needy.
For example, this year the Gujarat government allocated Rs 200 crore to distribute tablets. How can tablets improve the quality of education, God alone knows. According to Census 2011, the literacy rate in Gujarat was 78.03 % and its rank among states was 12th. Other high-income states Goa, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra had a higher literacy rate than Gujarat. These states are also spending more on education than Gujarat.
According to a report by the PRS Legislative Research, the average allocation of the budget of 27 states for education during 2015-20 was 16.0%, while Gujarat is much below the national average with 15% allocation. Other low-income states like Assam, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and West Bengal also spend more than Gujarat on education.
The performance of Gujarat in other education-reason related indicators is also dismal. According to the Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) 2018, only 43% of students of government schools in standard V could read standard II level text. This clearly shows the quality of the education of government schools in Gujarat. Gujarat’s education department survey admits that 12,000 government schools have only one or two teachers. 
Gujarat’s finance minister announced the thrust areas of this year's budget, and education is one of them. But the numbers of the state’s education spending do not match with the narrative.
The state government has proposed a new Schools of Excellence Scheme. Under the scheme, the state government is aiming to develop 500 state-run schools as Schools of Excellence by March next year, and Rs 250 crore is provided for it, which means, Rs 2.5 crore for each school for all the modern infrastructural facilities, smart classrooms, computer lab, stem lab and sports facilities. The step appears quite good. But it seems difficult to provide these services with the allocated financial resources.
The share of education expenditure in GSDP is quite disappointing in Gujarat. It has been between 1% and 2% during 2016-17 and 2019-20, one of the lowest
Overall, the Gujarat government has allocated Rs 31,955 crore to the education sector in this budget, which is 14.7% of the size of the budget, slightly higher than 13.07% of the previous fiscal year allocation. The proportion was 14.1% in 2017-18 and 13.9% in 2018-19.
Indeed, this time the government has increased the budget allocation on education, yet it is not sufficient to get the favourable results. The chart below shows the proportion of the Gujarat government’s education expenditure in total budget allocation and the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) at constant prices.
Prepared by the authors, based on PRS and Socio-Economic Review 2018 data 
The share of education expenditure in the size of the budget is in the range of 13% to 15% between 2016-17 and 2020-21. This means the education expenditure share in budget allocation remains almost stagnant over the last five years. However, education expenditure has been increasing continuously, because the size of the budget has been increasing over a period of time.
The share of education expenditure in GSDP is quite disappointing in Gujarat. It has been between 1% and 2% during 2016-17 and 2019-20. The fund allocation and the percentage share of education in GSDP is one of the lowest in the country. For the fiscal 2019-20, the percentage share of education in GSDP was only 1.55%, which is a matter of concern.
Even states like Rajasthan and Bihar have been allocating more than 15% of the budget on education for the last five years. Maharashtra also spends around 17% of its total budget on education.
Focus of quality without monetary support wouldn't help. Similarly, rather than just allocating extra budget for education, necessary steps should be taken to improve the quality of spending. Infrastructure is necessary, but in the longer run education and health are the two pillars which strength for a state.
---
*Lecturer, **student, department of economics, St Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Ahmedabad

Comments

Rita shah said…
A well wtityen piece on education scene in Gujarat state. But certainly this is not a over night development, the scenirio has been dismal because of the age old education policy of the state. and the mindset of the where commerce and religion dominate and not education and health. It is sad that we lag behind in both fields and cut a sorry figure when compared to other states. I wish we open our eyes and priotrise both.

TRENDING

Corporate-political party nexus? Rise and rise of Gautam Adani under Modi regime

By Sandeep Pandey*  In last five years Rs 10,09,510 crore taken as loans by various companies from banks in India have been declared as Non Performing Assets, an euphemism for writing them off. Out of this State Bank of India alone wrote off Rs 2,04,486 crore. Only about 13% of the total written off amount was recovered. Identity of the defaulting borrowers, most of whom are influential corporates, is not revealed. Compare this to the loans taken by farmers. The names of defaulting farmers is displayed on walls in tehsil offices to shame them and some unlucky ones also land up in lock-ups there. On the contrary, a few corporate defaulters have fled the country and quite curiously the authorities didn’t seize their passports like they do with some dissenting intellectuals or activists booked under mostly false cases. Now consider the donations received by political parties in the form of electoral bonds. The identity of the donor need not be revealed even to the Election Commission or i

'Extremist' US Hindu global group funding hate against Indian Churches: NGO groups

Counterview Desk  As many as 14 civil rights and faith-based organizations in co-signing a letter to the US Senators, Representatives, State Governor, and other elected officials have demanded the FBI, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Department of Justice should investigate into Texas-based organization Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) a fundraiser campaign for demolishing churches in India. Co-signed by Federation of Indian American Christian Organization in North America (FIACONA), North American Church of God, Southern Methodist University (SMU) Human Rights Program, Amnesty International - Dallas, World Without Genocide, Center for Pluralism, Genocide Watch, The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Limitless Church, Justice for All, Hindu for Human Rights, North Texas Peace Advocates, Good Citizens of DFW, and the North Texas Islamic Council, the letter has been sent to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Representatives Michael C Burgess, Pat Fallon, Van Taylor, Terr

Carbon abatement to tackle climate change: India's failure has 'outpaced' its success

By Satorupa Karmakar*  On November 01, 2021, India took a pledge of reaching a carbon-zero stage by 2070, at the COP-26 held in Glasgow, UK. As ‘ambitious’ and dubious it may sound to some, with a short-term delay in renewable energy generation (which gained the pace post-September 2020) and drastic fall in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission level as COVID-19 emerged as a ‘necessary evil’ , the path of India’s clean energy mission could be seen being paved throughout this time. Currently ranked as the third largest GHG emitter in the world, India is projected to demand more energy in coming years due to a large population base (1.3 billion as per 2011 Census data) and primarily coal-based fast-growing economy. Rapid industrialisation in post-colonial developing countries like India, stimulated by a larger and cheaper pool of fossil fuels and labour-force depicted a continuous upsurge in temperature, heavy precipitation in some places with an overall declining rainfall and a burgeoning soc

BJP-RSS trap opposition in 'futile row' around Savarkar, freedom movement

By Prem Singh*  Everything in this article is just a repetition. I have been saying all this since 1991-92. It is obvious that the Congress and the RSS/BJP do not like my ideas. But most socialists, advocates of social justice and communists also dislike my thoughts. I watch their measures and efforts to deal with the present crisis with interest. I respect them and also participate. Yet, the fact it, we fall behind again and again, and the crisis goes ahead. Instead of being a solution-providers, we are seen to be a part of the crisis. How long will this last? Perhaps, if the new generation thinks differently, things may turn for better! 1 To say that modern Indian society and politics are passing through the deepest crisis ever will surely be a repetition. The crisis is deeper than the spreading of communal hatred we witness around us. In fact, the business of communal hatred is flourishing by taking its manure and water from the deep crisis. The crisis of neo-colonial slavery is pro

Demand to withdraw 'anti-environment, anti-adivasi' forest conservation rules 2022

By Gopinath Majhi*  The Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a coalition of adivasis and forest dwellers’ organisations, has sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) raising serious concerns over Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, notified by the Centre on June 29.  Contending that recent amendments and a host of executive orders/guidelines issued by the ministry undermine and dilute the FRA and threaten the rights of adivasis and forest dwellers, CSD demands that the 2022 FC Rules should be rescinded forthwith. Demanding withdrawal of such anti-people and anti-environment rules CSD Odisha organised a protest Dharana in front of State Assembly today on 25th November 2022 and submitted memorandums to the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, Chief Secretary and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development Department for conveying our concerns against the FC Rules 2022 to the Central Government for its withdrawal. The memorandums w

'Unprecedented rise' of attacks on students of Delhi university by ABVP condemned

Counterview Desk  A statement, sent as an email alert by "concerned teachers and students of Delhi University", referring to a protest organised against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad's (ABVP's), has alleged “brutal” attack on students and teachers demanding the release of civil rights leader Prof GN Saibaba and others from “unjust incarceration.” “We are seeing an unprecedented rise of attacks on the students of our university by the fascist ABVP goons. Almost every week we see our fellow students and activists getting attacked physically by the lackeys of this current Brahmanical Hindutva fascist regime”, the statement claimed. Text : A joint protest was organised by the students and teachers of Delhi University on 2nd of December against the brutal attack by ABVP goons. On 1st of December, activists of Bhagat Singh Chatra Ekta Manch (bsCEM), Lawyers Against Atrocities (LAA) and many other organisations as a part of Campaign Against State Repression (CASR),

Never-ending saga of sin tax: What if murder is taxed at Rs 1 crore, rape at Rs 5 crore?

By Moses Raj GS, Sangeetha Thomas*  What should have ended by June 30, 2022 as a 5 year experiment has resurfaced. The government has extended the levy of GST compensation cess by another 4 years till March 31, 2026. This cess, dubbed as the sin tax imposed on sin(ful) goods, is double the highest slab on indirect taxes. But only a few pay for it and the majority benefit, unendingly. The year 2017 is a landmark year for indirect taxes. With the grand idea of ‘One Nation, One Tax’ as a fiscal slogan subsuming all State based taxes such as octroi /entry tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax, taxes on lottery, betting and gambling, luxury tax, purchase tax, entertainment tax, property tax, professional tax and central sales tax into a single framework of Goods and Services Tax (GST) changed the contours of revenue collection. Complicating it further, India, with each State having its own size and revenue problems, has the most complex and highly centralised indirect tax structure in the w

Nullify environmental release, uproot GM mustard plants: 111 doctors urge Modi

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 111 medical professionals , most of them senior doctors, has expressed concern with regard to human health implications of the genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant (HT) mustard that got approved by Government of India, with indications that it has already been planted in at least six locations. Floated by Dr Rupal M Dalal, a Mumbai-based pediatrician, the letter, even as “welcoming” Modi’s “unprecedented push” towards non-chemical farming in the country for the benefit of environment, nature, consumers and farmers, it said, “HT GM mustard will push the country in the opposite direction.” “A herbicide tolerant crop will put an end to diversity-based cropping, which is important not just for soil health but human health and expose consumers and farmers to a toxic herbicide with serious long term health implications”, it added. The letter seeks the Prime Minister’s urgent intervention to not only withdraw th

Climate change 'can't be fought' with fancy issues: re-engineering cities, green energy

By Shankar Sharma*  "The Hindu" has carried a discussion paper in the form of an interview, Can poor countries afford to go green? Many such articles/ opinion pieces are making the grievous mistake of ignoring a fundamental question: what is the true cost of climate change (CC), and can poor countries, or for that matter any community, afford not to do all that is feasible to address the threats of  CC; instead of wasting our time and resources in endlessly deliberating on the so called "financial/economic costs" of the much needed transition. Such articles seem to focus only on high profile / glamorous/ debatable stuff, and ignore the basic issues which we all can do something or the other to minimise the impacts of CC in the short-term, and which may probably lead to long term solution. The opinion pieces/ discussion, as above, are guilty of conveniently ignoring the basic question: what is the fundamental cause of CC? The answer should be: the unsustainable dema

Muslims, Dalits off Bangladesh border 'don't have acess to' water, power, farmland

Counterview Desk  Kirity Roy, secretary, civil rights group Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), in a letter to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, has revealed how, even after 75 years of Independence, Muslims and Dalits living next to the India-Bangladesh border do not have access to electricity, drinking water, even to their own land. Stating that the “horrible situation” has due to “illegal restriction on the agricultural activities” imposed by the Border Security Force (BSF), plunging “farmers and their families into deeper poverty”, the letter, referring to the plight of 1,200 people reside in the Changmari village, states, There are about 200 acres of cultivable lands out of 3,500 acres is situated beyond the border fence. “The ingress and egress of the farmers to their own agricultural land through the fencing gates are regulated by the BSF. The soil and climate of this region is very suitable for jute and maize cultivation”, it adds. Text: This letter is