Monday, Nov 24, 2014

‘BMC spend on education less than half the estimate’

Written by Alison Saldanha | Mumbai | Posted: October 23, 2013 2:02 am

For the past three financial years,the BMC’s actual capital expenditure on primary education on an average is less than 50 per cent of the budget estimate. Similarly,on an average,over 30 per cent of the education department’s annual budget for revenue expenditure remains unspent.

The BMC’s public education system is routinely criticised for poor infrastructure and quality of services provided. Last year,NGO Praja Foundation’s white paper on the status of municipal education in Mumbai revealed that the dropout rate in civic schools has risen from 4 per cent in 2010-2011 to 7 per cent in 2011-2012. This is despite the education department’s consistent increase in budget year after year.

According to data from the civic body under RTI Act,of the Rs 169.2-crore budget provision for capital expenditure on primary education in 2010-11,a paltry 25 per cent was utilised. The BMC had slashed the budget estimate by roughly 50 per cent to Rs 85 crore in the revised estimate announced towards the end of the year.

In 2011-2012,the revised estimate showed a 6 per cent increase to Rs 179.8 crore. The department,however,spent only 67.2 per cent.

In 2012-13,though the budget estimate was more than doubled to Rs 367 crore compared with the previous years’ BE,actual expenditure was less than 50 per cent.

Civic data for revenue expenditure shows that for 2010-2011 and 2011-2012,while the budget estimates stood at Rs 1,622 crore and Rs 1,631 crore,only about 63 per cent was actually used. This trend slightly improved in 2012-2013 with one-fifth of the total Rs 1,975 crore remaining unused.

In the current financial year,despite poor fund utilisation,the BMC has hiked its budget estimate for primary education to Rs 2,115 crore for revenue expenditure and Rs 377 crore for capital spend.

Mohan Adtani,additional municipal commissioner said,“Revised estimates are the true figures as these are based on the BMC’s actual income and available funds. The primary reasons for less expenditure are that the tender rates are at least 20 per cent lesser than the estimated cost. Also,around 10-15 per cent of the costs are related to other departments.”

Nitin Wadhwani,head of Citizens’ Association for Child Rights,said,“Now that BMC schools have to be comply with RTE,more projects have been taken up in areas such as the H-West ward. In wards like M-East,where most project-affect persons are relocated to,infrastructure is still poor.”

alison.saldanha@expressindia.com

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