Last year, the AAP government had taken a step towards fulfilling its election promise about making education a priority issue and allocated a considerable amount of money to the sector.
In the AAP’s budget for 2015-16, Finance Minister Manish Sisodia had proposed a total expenditure of Rs 9,836 crore on education. The funds allotted under plan expenditure for both school-level and higher education — Rs 4,570 crore — had risen by 106 per cent compared to the last budget, Sisodia had said.
However, with a lot of funds allocated for the Right to Education Act (RTE), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan (RMSA) and construction of classrooms still unspent, questions have been raised on the government’s expenditure on the education sector in the last one year.
Some of the key areas on which the government has spent money this year are: introducing new schemes and spending on existing ones, promotion of sports and physical education, paying employee salaries and huge grants-in aid to the three municipal
As per data from the education department’s website, of the budgeted plan expenditure of Rs 3,051 crore, the department has spent Rs 2,219 crore — about 69 per cent of the money allocated under the section.
About Rs 460 crore, however, was given to the three municipal corporations in grants and for employee salaries, reducing the percentage of money actually spent on education, under plan expenditure, to about 63 per cent.
For example, of the Rs 30 crore allocated for the RTE act under various heads, the department only managed to spend 6.66 per cent of the amount or about Rs 2 crore, revealed the expenditure report.
Similarly, for RMSA, of the approximately Rs 12 crore budgeted under both state and central heads, only Rs 2.84 crore or 23.66 per cent of the money was actually spent.
The Delhi government had also proposed setting up CCTV cameras in all classrooms in government schools, setting up 236 new schools and recruiting 20,000 regular teachers.
Sisodia, who is also the education minister, had said the government was in the process of creating 8,000 new classrooms.
With the focus on constructing new schools and classrooms, the education department had allocated Rs 986 crore under various heads, but only Rs 497 crore has actually been utilised, according to data from the department website.
The government seems to have spent the Rs 3,367 crore allotted under non-plan expenditure on paying employee salaries, new measures and schemes like promoting games and sports activities, introducing yoga in schools, setting up pre-primary/primary classes in existing government schools, introducing vocational guidance services in schools and expansion of science at the secondary level.
Introduction of integrated education for disabled children, introduction of computers after Class X and improvement of school libraries are some of the other projects the government had allocated money for. Budget allocations to subsidise books and uniforms, stationery items, mid-day meals etc were utilised fully, according to data from the education department.