Samagra Shiksha programme: Centre proposes ₹1,181 crore allocation for Punjab next fiscal

Chandigarh : As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab gears up to give a push to education, the Union ministry of education has proposed an allocation of 1,181.30 crore for the state in the financial year 2023-24 under the centrally sponsored Samagra Shiksha programme for school education.

The Union ministry has indicated the outlay to the state government for the annual work plan for the coming year and asked it to submit its plan proposal accordingly by next month. Of the total allocation, 708 crore will come from the central government, and the remaining 472.52 crore is the state share.

The flagship scheme aims at ensuring inclusive and quality education at elementary and secondary levels and is funded jointly by the central and state governments on a 60:40 sharing basis.

In the financial year 2022-23, the Centre had proposed a tentative outlay, excluding the spillover, of 1,102.91 crore for elementary, secondary, and teacher education. It later allowed an allocation of 1,127.37 crore with a marginal increase besides a spillover of 148 crore from the previous year. The state allocated 65% of its budget for elementary education, 34% for secondary education, and the remaining 1% for teacher education.

Access, infrastructure key thrust areas

A school education department official said the fund allocation indicated by the central ministry is based on tentative estimates. “The department is working several new initiatives to upgrade the infrastructure in schools and improve the quality of learning. A detailed annual work plan containing details of civil works and activities will be sent to the central ministry of education for approval,” he said, requesting anonymity.

The MoE has, in its letter, listed access, focus on school infrastructure, special training for age-appropriate admission of out-of-school children, post-National Achievement Survey (NAS) intervention, girls’ education, and innovative projects as thrust areas. “The overall plan proposal from the state should not exceed 1.25 times the estimated plan outlay,” Vipin Kumar, joint secretary of the department of school education and literacy, wrote. The outlay will be finalised in the meeting of the project-approval board (PAB) headed by the Union education secretary on the basis of the annual work plan sent by the state government.

Of the proposed outlay, a sum of 758 crore is proposed to be earmarked for elementary education, 405.53 crore for secondary education, and 17.75 crore for teacher education.

In 2021-22, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Punjab were among the four states which received more than 90% of the Government of India approved share, according to an analysis carried out by the accountability initiative of fund allocations and expenditure. Punjab also had one of the highest utilisation rates and reported expenditure of 2,914 per child under the scheme against the national average of 2,543.

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