MHRD grants: Out of Rs 3,000 cr approved budget, J&K gets only Rs 150 cr

MHRD grants: Out of Rs 3,000 cr approved budget, J&K gets only Rs 150 cr
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Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has released only Rs 150 crore out of Rs 3,000 crore current year approved budget for J&K Education Department.

An official said the MHRD in its Project Approval Board(PAB) meeting in June 2019 had approved Rs 3,000 crore for J&K's SchoolEducation under "various interventions".

"Out of the approved budget, though the MHRD was supposed torelease Rs 1258 crore as first installment between August to September, itreleased only Rs 150 crore to J&K Finance Department just two weeks ago,"the official said.

Giving the break-up of the released amount, the officialsaid: "Of the Rs 150 crore, Rs 30 crore has been released as ad hoc grants andRs 120 crore for Right to Education (RTE) entitlements."

The funds released are now lying with J&K FinanceDepartment and "are yet to be disbursed to the directorate of Samagra Shikshafor onward distribution among Chief Education Officers (CEOs)".

"The funds released for RTE entitlements have to be utilizedfor procurement of bags, uniform and stationery items for the school children.We have written to the Finance Department to release the amount," the officialsaid.

The official said the delay in release of the approvedgrants was caused "due to reorganization of erstwhile J&K State into aUnion Territory".

"Initially, the grants were approved by the MHRD in Juneunder State head. By the time the first installment became due, the State hadbeen reorganized into UT," the official said, adding that that caused the delayin the release of the funds "as the MHRD had to take up the issue with theMinistry of Finance, Government of India (GoI)".

"We held several meetings with the MHRD to seek release offunds but there has been no breakthrough. If the MHRD releases some funds thismonth we have to ensure that they get utilized before commencement of nextfinancial year," the official said.

Meanwhile, while J&K is yet to get the full grantsapproved for 2019-2020, the MHRD has scheduled new PAB meet to approve thebudget of J&K for 2020-21.

"It will be a hotchpotch as we are yet to receive grants ofcurrent financial year of various interventions. In May, we will have topropose new budget to the MHRD," the official said.

State Project Director (SPD) Samagra Shiksha, Arun KumarManhas, confirmed that they did "not receive (full) grants from MHRD which wereapproved for current financial year". "We are utilizing the unspent funds whichwere released during 2018-19 financial year. We have already taken up matterwith MHRD and will come to know about release of funds very soon," Manhas said.

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