Skip to main content

Despite pandemic, allocation for education down from 3.8% to 2.27%: RTE Forum meet

By Our Representative 

The right to education is linked to right to life, a constitutional obligation. The Covid-19 pandemic and consequent government policies, however, have led to a steady violation of this right for children belonging to the marginalised community. The Union budget 2021 has only made things worse. This was the crux of discussions in a webinar organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, in which over 300 activists participants.
Ambarish Rai, national convener, RTE Forum, said, the Union budget does not do justice to children, and despite the ravages of the pandemic, there was poor allocation for education. In fact, this year’s allocation on education is nearly 6.1 per cent lower than that of the previous year.
Only Rs 93,324 crore has been allocated this year as compared to Rs 99,312 crore allocated in the previous financial year, Rai said, adding, it is shocking that the government is not providing sufficient budget to undo the adverse effects of the pandemic and ensure every child returns to school.
Furthermore, Rai asserted, the girls have been disproportionately impacted in the pandemic, which has made them vulnerable to early marriages, child labour, trafficking and violence. Yet, they have been completely neglected in the budget.
The National Scheme for Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education has witnessed severe budget cuts from Rs 110 crore last year to a merely Rs 1 crore this year, Rai stated, regretting, the demand for adequate public spending for the implementation of the RTE Act and its extension to 3-18 years has again been ignored.
Prof Muchkund Dubey, former foreign secretary, currently president, Council for Social Development, New Delhi, giving a historical overview of the evolution of the RTE movement, said that governments all through have displayed similar attitudes towards the education sector.
The Kothari Commission’s recommendation that 6% of GDP be allocated towards the sector has become a statement that is repeated by every important committee like a ritual. It has not fructified in any measure, Dubey said, adding, the only time there was an effort to even calculate the cost of universalising school education was under the Deve Gowda-led United Front government, which set up the Tapas Majumdar committee. The costs worked out then, between Rs 55,000 crore and Rs 72,000, were of immense magnitude, but thereafter this was brushed under the carpet.
With the pandemic causing great damage to the schooling sector, there was expectation that the budget would attempt to compensate it. A new education policy was announced last year. Yet, said Dr Protiva Kundu of the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), the expectation has been belied.
It’s not only about Rs 6,000 crore budget reduction (6.1% decrease). What is alarming is the steadily declining share of the education sector in the overall Union budget in the last few years. In 2015-16, the percentage allocation for education in budget was 3.8%. It has been reduced in 2021-22 to 2.27%, one of the lowest in recent years, she said.
Worse, the Union Budget has made no reference to the damages caused to the education sector due to the pandemic, said to Prof Govinda, former vice chancellor of the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA).
There is enough data suggesting massive drop-out. The RTE Forum has also collected data that show how child labour, child marriage and child abuse have increased on account of the pandemic. How can the Government of India remain so blind to ground reality and distress that education has gone through one year?, wondered Prof Govinda. This year’s budget talks about digital architecture; however, that does not improve the situation in primary schools.
Prof Praveen Jha from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said, Covid-19 has impacted the livelihood of 70-80% of people, and due to school closures, children have been left out of the purview of education. This is deeply distressing.
Dr. Sukanya Bose, faculty, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), said, the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan has created a structure aimed at reaching down to the cluster level. However, the Abhiyan’s funding has been reduced. The special training centre under for out-of-school children under the scheme needs heavy investment to bring out of school children back to schools.

Comments

TRENDING

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

Effluent discharge into deep sea? Modi told to 'reconsider' Rs 2275 crore Gujarat project

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, well-known Gujarat-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, has protested against the manner in with the Gujarat government is continuing with its deep sea effluent disposal project despite environmental concerns.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Debt bondage, forced labour, sexual abuse in Gujarat's Bt cottonseed farms: Dutch study

By Rajiv Shah  A just-released study, sponsored by a Netherlands-based non-profit, Arisa , “Seeds of Oppression Wage sharecropping in Bt cottonseed production in Gujarat, India”, has said that a new form of bondage, or forced labour, exists in North India’s Bt cottonseed farms, in which bhagiyas, or wage sharecroppers, are employed against advances and are then often required to work for years together “without regular payment of wages.”

Covid: We failed to stop religious, political events, admits Modi-dharmacharya meet

Counterview Desk An email alert sent by one the 11 participants, Prof Salim Engineer, on behalf of the Dharmik Jan Morcha regarding their "religious leaders' online meet" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as offering "support to meet challenges of Corona pandemic", blames religious congregations, though without naming the Maha Kumbh and other religious events, which apparently were instrumental in the spread of the second wave.