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RTE: State needs to set aside Rs1,500 crore for 5 years

Right to Education

MUMBAI: To implement the Right To Education (RTE) Act, the state government will have to set aside Rs1,500 crore for the next five years — if it pays around Rs1,100 per student.

This amount does not include the infrastructure and administrative expenditures, which may be around Rs25,000 crore in the next five years as per the guidelines issued by the Centre.
But the state insists on implementing the RTE from the next academic year. “It is the Centre’s mandate which the state government cannot ignore. The state has to implement the RTE, inclusive of all provisions,” said CM Prithviraj Chavan.
The decision to provide 25% reservation for poor (backward) students in both government aided and private schools has further complicated the matter. Private schools are upset as the state government has asked them to shoulder the cost of poor students if they have to implement the Act from the next academic year (2012-13).
The ministry of finance is worried as funds for RTE will have to be provided from outside the budget which has already been sanctioned for the state school education for the year 2012-13. The budget for school education is around Rs3,000 crore.
But the state government is more worried that with each passing year the allocation of funds for RTE will have to be substantially enhanced to meet the challenges. The state has decided to provide Rs100 crore for the year 2012-13.
A senior officer in the department said, “For 2012-13, there was no thought given to the RTE. But after the Supreme Court upheld the Centre’s policy decision, there was no escape for the state government.”
Maharashtra is waiting to see if the Centre will provide financial aid. Many states have written to the ministry of human resources development to provide a financial package for implementing RTE.

Daily News & Analysis, 19 May 2012

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