Odisha Budget 2019-20: Will Finmin Pujari’s maiden budget do justice to Edu allocation?

A whopping 78 per cent elementary schools in Odisha are without electricity connection. Despite so, during the period 2016-19, not a single school was brought into the loop of electricity connection.

Bhubaneswar: As the new Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari will be presenting the first budget of Naveen 5.0 on coming Friday (June 28), the big watch out point in the upcoming full budget 2019-20 is the allocation to the education sector.

A check-out out here looks all the more imperative because, Odisha had fared poorest among the 19 major States in spending on education vis-a-vis the total budgeted expenditure.

As per an analysis of the budget data available, the expenditure on education in proportion to the total budget spending for the period of 2016-19 was around 14 per cent. The expenditure proportion for the successive years {2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 (interim)} was 15.5 per cent, 14.8 per cent and around 15.08 per cent, respectively.

Even, the proportion of edu spending to total expenditure by backward States like Bihar and Chhattisgarh in 2018-19 was 18.9 and 18.2 per cent, respectively.

As per the RBI data, the average expenditure on education in proportion to the total budgeted expenditure by major 19 States was 16.1 per cent for the period 2016-19.

A look at the RBI data revealed that the proportion of edu to total spending in Odisha had nosedived post 2000-01 and continued till 2008-09. After a brief rise in 2009-11, the edu spending was again on the downslide till the year 2018-19.

In the Interim Budget 2019-20, the total allocation provisioned was Rs 19, 911 crore. While the allocation for School and Mass Education sector was Rs 16,400 crore, the Higher Education Department was allocated Rs 2,375 crore.

However, the administrative expenditure accounted for around 60 per cent of the total education expenditure in the State.

The worry is such a high proportion of administrative expenditure will in no way add to the quality of education services in the State.

And the result is simply disastrous. A whopping 78 per cent elementary schools in Odisha are without electricity connection. Despite so, during the period 2016-19, not a single school was brought into the loop of electricity connection.

The contrast on other hand is, nationally, a high of 61 per cent elementary schools have the privilege of power connection.

Similarly, In comparison to nearly 90 per cent electrification of secondary schools nationally, it is only 70 per cent in Odisha. The proportion in higher secondary stood at 93 per cent to 87 per cent.

Teacher vacancies: Though there is no teacher vacancy in elementary schools thank to Sarva Shikshya Abhiyan, the teacher vacancies in
class 9th and 10th were at a high of 1,033. As per Rashtriya Madhyamik Shikshya Abhiyan (RMSA) for secondary schools, the total teacher and headmaster vacancies in State’s secondary schools were at a whopping 4,919 in 2017-18.

The RMSA data shows Odisha is 5th in teacher vacancy and 6th in Principal vacancies in the country.