The “widening gap” between funds sought for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) by the Gujarat government, and that allocated by the Centre, was hotly debated during the Question Hour in the Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday. The state government told the House that it had sought a grant of Rs 1,409 crore from the Centre for the year 2014-15. Similarly, it had sought Rs 1,973 crore of grants in 2015-16 and Rs 2,591 crore in 2016-17. However, the grants allocated by the Centre for SSA was just Rs 784 crore in 2014-15, Rs 615 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 777 crore in 2016-17 (as on December, 2016), stated Nanubhai Vanani, the Minister of State for Education in response to a question about funds for SSA asked by Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar.
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Parmar wanted to know why the Central government has not been able to provide the funds that has been sought by the state government. “The BJP is ruling in both the state and at the Centre. Why is there a gap in funds sought and those provided,” he asked. Vanani said there was no cut in the amount of Central grants being provided to Gujarat under the SSA programme. “The overall grant received by Gujarat has not been reduced,” Vanani said without giving a direct reply about gap in funding for SSA.
The minister said the grants were used to provide free books, transportation facilities, opening new classrooms, laboratories and other civil works. In his reply, Vanani said that the state government has spent Rs 746 crore in 2014-15, Rs 788 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 713 crore in 2016-17 (till December 2016) under the SSA.