The Directorate of Primary Education has no documents to show how crores of rupees doled out as attendance allowance to girls studying in primary schools was utilised in the past five years.
A report given by the department in response to a query moved by The Indian Express under Right to Information Act 2005 reveals that it has no documents to validate an expenditure of over Rs 10 crore that is supposed to have been utilised by the respective Zilla Parishads,since they have failed to submit their expenditure statements for the amount to the directorate.
In view of the high dropout rates among girls,an attendance allowance scheme was started for them in 1992. According to relevant records,one of the main reasons why the allowance became necessary was that these girls were engaged by their parents in household work and taking care of their younger siblings. The other reasons included illiteracy and insecurity of the family,child marriages and poor economic condition. In order to reduce their absenteeism and dropout rate and encourage their parents to send their wards to school,the scheme was started by the Maharashtra government.
Going by the scheme,a total of 220 working days was considered mandatory for every girl,studying from Class I to IV,and an allowance of Re 1 was paid to the parents of these girls as an incentive to keep them in school.
The RTI report reveals that for the period between 2008 and 2011,a total of Rs 14,40,82,000 was released by the Directorate of Primary Education to the ZPs and Nagarpalikas across the Maharashtra under the Planned Scheme. Under the Non-Planned Scheme Rs 11,89,32,000 was released. But the directorate is yet to receive documents showing the details of the expenditure.
As per the RTI reply,The department did not receive any expenditure statement from any of the ZPs or NPs as proof of attendance allowance paid to schools. Without this,it cannot be verified whether the grants released by the Directorate of (Primary) Education was correct or not.
The expenditure statement of the previous year showing the details like name of the sub scheme,grants sanctioned for the year,expenditure incurred till March end,number of actual beneficiaries,grants surrendered and grants required for the next year should have been received by the Directorate of (Primary) Education before the release of the grant for the next year, it read.
The reply further states: No utilization certificates (UCs) were received for grants released in 2008-09,2009-10 and 2012-11. In the absence of utilisation certificate,how can the department keep a watch on whether the grants have been utilized for the purpose for which it was sanctioned?
When confronted with the question of absence of utilisation certificates,a senior official at the Directorate of Primary Education said,Yes it is true that UCs are necessary to ascertain how the money was utilised. We have asked all ZPs to furnish those as soon as possible. We are in the process of collecting the UCs.