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 School Education under “various interventions”.
“Out of the approved budget, though the MHRD was supposed to release Rs 1258 crore as first installment between August to September, it released 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 official said: “Of the Rs 150 crore, Rs 30 crore has been released as ad hoc grants and Rs 120 crore for Right to Education (RTE) entitlements.”
The funds released are now lying with J&K Finance Department and “are yet to be disbursed to the directorate of Samagra Shiksha for onward distribution among Chief Education Officers (CEOs)”.
“The funds released for RTE entitlements have to be utilized for procurement of bags, uniform and stationery items for the school children. We have written to the Finance Department to release the amount,” the official said.
The official said the delay in release of the approved grants was caused “due to reorganization of erstwhile J&K State into a Union Territory”.
“Initially, the grants were approved by the MHRD in June under State head. By the time the first installment became due, the State had been reorganized into UT,” the official said, adding that that caused the delay in the release of the funds “as the MHRD had to take up the issue with the Ministry of Finance, Government of India (GoI)”.
“We held several meetings with the MHRD to seek release of funds but there has been no breakthrough. If the MHRD releases some funds this month we have to ensure that they get utilized before commencement of next financial year,” the official said.
Meanwhile, while J&K is yet to get the full grants approved for 2019-2020, the MHRD has scheduled new PAB meet to approve the budget of J&K for 2020-21.
“It will be a hotchpotch as we are yet to receive grants of current financial year of various interventions. In May, we will have to propose new budget to the MHRD,” the official said.
State Project Director (SPD) Samagra Shiksha, Arun Kumar Manhas, confirmed that they did “not receive (full) grants from MHRD which were approved for current financial year”. “We are utilizing the unspent funds which were released during 2018-19 financial year. We have already taken up matter with MHRD and will come to know about release of funds very soon,” Manhas said.