Education deptt faces financial crisis

Contrary to the claims made by the government on taking J&K’s education sector to new heights, the school education department has faced restraint on fund flow post downgrading of the erstwhile state into two UTs.

After the bifurcation of J&K into two UTs on August 5 last year, the school education department here has received only Rs 33 crore out of sanctioned Rs 2200 crore as annual allocation for 2019-2020, sources said.

An official said the MHRD has released Rs 740 crore to J&K’s finance department for its uitilisation in 2019-20 out of which the education department has received only Rs 33 crore.

The annual plan was sanctioned by MHRD while chairing a Project Annual Board (PAB) meeting in June 2019, two months before the reorganization of J&K into a UT.

“The minutes of the meeting were released in July and the flow of funds from MHRD was expected in the coming time. But till date the department has received only Rs 33 crore from J&K’s finance department out of sanctioned Rs 2200 crore by MHRD,” an official in civil secretariat said.

He said the MHRD had sanctioned the annual plan for J&K under state budget but later in August the account was shifted from state to UT budget due to which the J&K faced a financial cut.

“The funds released for the UT budget are considerably less than what was released for the state budget. So, in this regard bifurcation of J&K into a UT was a setback in terms of release of funds,” the official said.

“The funds are released by MHRD and are credited to the account of the finance department wherefrom they are transferred to the society account of Samagra Shiksha for its utilization by the education department. But the finance department has delayed the transfer of funds to the education department,” the official said.

The official said the dearth of funds has halted all the developmental works and the infrastructural up gradation in schools have hit a roadblock from past one year.

“We could not execute civil works as well. For the past one year, only 20 to 30 percent of work has been done,” the official said.

“MHRD has outright refused to release a second installment stating that no funds would be provided to J&K unless the already released unspent amount is utilized by the department. But the J&K government is not releasing the amount to the education department,” the official said.

Recently, the MHRD convened a PAB meeting to review and approve annual allocation of J&K’s education department for 2020-21. But the MHRD is unlikely to release any funds as the J&KL government has failed to utilize the unspent amount.

“Overall, the financial conditions of the school education department is grim and there has been no achievement in the department for the past one year,” the official said.

The situation in Ladakh UT is no different. The education department in Ladakh UT is facing an immense financial crunch. “Most of the employees are without salary from October month,” the official said.