Just like the last time I wrote about one of the landmark developmental initiatives of the UPA government – NREGA – this time I decided to write upon an equally, or rather more significant, developmental initiative: Sarva Siksha Abhiyan; an initiative which holds the promise of transforming the entire socio-economic landscape of the nation, if delivered to its potential! Now, there is a big ’if’ here, as going by precedence, each and every developmental initiative of the government has been full of corruption, coupled with delivery inadequacies. And the same has been a reality with respect to SSA as well.

A recent report by British media revealed that millions of pounds of aid for education under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme have literally disappeared. The report put this figure at a staggering £340 million, which is around Rs 2,327 crore! To further this report, the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) investigation found that almost £14 million (around Rs 100 crore) had been spent on luxuries viz. new cars, luxury beds, computers et al, that had no connection with SSA. So much so that around Rs 1.02 crore was transferred into non-traceable bank accounts. Not just that, electronic equipments like air conditioners, faxes, photocopiers, colour television sets et al were bought for regions which had no electricity supply! And that’s just one side of the entire SSA story! Another CAG report reveals that around 68 per cent of the Rs 8000 crore allotted for ‘Elementary Education’ development work, which was spent under SSA, had no records. A 2006 report highlighted irregularities of funds usage to the tune of Rs 470 million in almost 14 states in SSA schemes. A brief glimpse through other media reports, in the span of the last few years, is enough to give a concrete idea about how states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are spending allocated funds on projects that have nothing to do with SSA.

As such, India is amongst the lowest spenders on education. Couple this with the fact that India also houses the maximum number of illiterates in the world! In this light, it is criminal that funds to the tune of thousands of crores get siphoned away just like this. Putting the numbers into perspective, if the total allocated money (Rs 31,036 crore as per the budget 2010-11) were to be disbursed directly to 192 million children (or 19.2 crore children) who officially come under the ambit of SSA, then each student would receive more than Rs 1600 each this year. Considering that a student generally has to pay an average monthly fee of Rs 100 (actually ranges from Rs 70-150 in rural areas) at rural elementary schools in India, giving Rs 1600 annually to students directly would not only enable them to pay the annual fees, but would also result in some extra pocket money! The direct disbursement seems to be a much more rational and fruitful method, when seen in the shadows of corruption and scams.     Read More....

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27/07/2012 6:32pm

Hi, this is a good post, indeed a great job. You must have done good research for the work, i appreciate your efforts. Looking for more updates from your side. Thanks

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