Education for all still a distant dream in J-K: CAG

Jammu: The Comptroller and Auditor General has pulled up the Jammu and Kashmir government for financial irregularities, fund diversion and non-monitoring of Central education programmes, saying that it has resulted in education for all a "distant dream" in the state.

"Despite all efforts of Government of India (GoI) and State Government, education for all still remains a distant dream," the CAG report for the 2010-11, which was tabled in J&K Assembly recently, said.

The CAG painted a grim picture of the Centre`s flagship programmes Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyan and mid-day meal in the state as the government failed to implement these schemes.

"Non-preparation of long and short term plans based on ground realities, non-monitoring of schemes at all the levels and inadequate internal control mechanism had hampered the implementation of the programmes at school and zonal levels," the report said.

The auditor further revealed that government has conducted a mid-term appraisal of the ongoing Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyan and mid-day meal schemes for possible corrections. "Cases of financial irregularities, advances paid and await adjustment accounts, diversion of funds, abandoned school buildings resulting in unproductive expenditure were noticed in a large number of cases, which had dented programmes implementation," it said.

The official auditor also found the huge unspent balances at every level. The report revealed that 3,256 habitations (12 per cent) at the state-level were without any schooling facility.

Though the teacher-pupil ratio in test-checked schools was 1:12 and within the prescribed norm of 1:40, 718 schools out of the 7,016 institutions were run by one teacher only, it added.

Despite an increase in the number of government schools, the enrolment of students had decreased, it said. Private schools are given preference by parents owing to the lack of infrastructure in government schools.

Regarding basic amenities in schools, CAG findings revealed that despite the liberal funding by the Centre, 69 to 86 per cent government schools did not even have toilets, drinking water and electricity facilities, playground and book banks for students.

"The funds meant for replacing school equipment such as blackboard, sitting mats, dusters, registers and other office equipment were not released timely. Also, the State Implementing Agency (SIS) of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had retained funds and parked it in saving bank accounts during 2006-11. About 32 to 72 per cent of the funds were released by the SIS to implementing agencies at the fag end of the financial years," the CAG lamented.

Introduction of mid-day meal programmes did not have the desired impact due to inadequate infrastructure, deficient survey for preparation of annual plans and less procurement of food-grains from FCI, the report said, adding that "monitoring of programmes was virtually non-existent".

The report disclosed that despite the Central funding for construction of kitchen-cum-store under mid-day meal scheme, there were inadequate kitchen utensils in the schools surveyed.

The CAG concluded that non-preparation of plans based on ground realities, non-monitoring of schemes at all the levels and inadequate internal control mechanism had hampered the implementation of the programmes.