Representatives of social sector organisations today sought higher budgetary allocation for education, with special focus on the elementary sector. In pre-Budget consultations with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, they demanded that the government address the gaps in the financial and planning process that has led to consistent under spending in the education sector.
“Enhance the allocation in education in line with the Kothari Commission and National Education Policy recommendations of 6 per cent of GDP,” said a representative of the Right to Education Forum after the meeting.
“Current allocations have hovered in the vicinity of 3.4 per cent which falls far short of this national and international benchmark,” he added. “In accordance with the recommendation of CABE Committee, enhance the allocation of elementary education by 1 per cent to accommodate the cumulative gap in education. The allocation to the elementary education should be Rs 73,807 crore,” the representative said.
They also demanded that the government should eradicate discrimination in allocation made in education. Besides, they added that disparities exist between different states, rural and urban areas and different types of schools within the education department.
As per the government data as many as 6 million children are still out of school — most belonging to disadvantage communities. They also suggested that the projected budget for the marginalised communities and minorities in the next year’s budget should be Rs 1.15 lakh crore.
Independent think tank CUTS Secretary General Pradeep S Mehta said the organisation has urged the Finance Minister to address issues related to adoption and implementation of National Competition Policy; enactment and implementation of the Public Procurement Act and National Procurement Policy; fixing of fiscal management practices.
According to CUTS, Public procurement in India accounts for almost 30 per cent of total GDP worth USD 536 billion annually.