Raised to Rs.2,31,000 crore from Rs.1,71,000; Centre's share increased to 68 per cent

The Centre has revised the financial allocation under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act over the next five years. As against the Rs.1,71,000 crore suggested earlier, the Finance Ministry has now approved an allocation for Rs.2,31,000 crore.

The Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) under the Finance Ministry has also agreed to increase the Centre's share effectively to 68 per cent and reduce the State share to 32 per cent for implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which makes elementary education compulsory for children in the age groups of six to 14 years.

The total outlay approved by the EFC includes Rs.24,000 crore allocated to the States by the 13{+t}{+h} Finance Commission. The Centre's share of this amount will be at 65 per cent and that of the States at 35 per cent. However, when the Rs.24,000 crore awarded by the Commission is taken into account, the Centre's share effectively works out to 68 per cent, while that of the States' is 32 per cent.

State governments had been demanding a higher share from the Centre while expressing their inability to implement the Act. The higher allocation of Rs.2,31,000 crore was required on account of the cost of harmonising the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) with RTE norms.

The National University of Educational Planning and Administration initially estimated that the requirement of funds for implementing the RTE Act over five years would be Rs.1,71,000 crore.

The RTE Act requires primary classes to have a pupil-teacher ratio of 1:30 and upper primary classes a ratio of 1:35, against the SSA ratio of 1:40. The Act also has the norm of one classroom per teacher, which increases the number of classrooms and teachers required, and implementing these norms would increase fund requirement.

The EFC gave its seal of approval to providing a one-time grant to help States ensure that all primary schools have five grades — classes one to five — and upper primary, classes six to eight.

Financial support will also be provided for residential schools in thinly populated areas and urban centres, where the focus would be on street children and migrants' children. In sparsely populated areas, support will also be provided for transport systems for students.

Keywords: RTE Acthigher allocationHRD MinistrySarva Shiksha Abhiyan