J&K schools lack all basic facilities, thanks to ‘paltry’ budget allocations

Minister for education Syed Altaf Bukhari on Friday said that the school education department is facing an annual shortfall of Rs 580 crore to meet various expenditures, including salaries. He said that the capex allocation from the state plan is only Rs 41 crore for the department.

“I am hopeful that the government will provide additional grants to the department so that it sees growth in terms of infrastructure,” he said.

Interestingly, the cabinet earlier approved creation of new 17 degree colleges in the state and ordered up-gradation of 400 government schools—200 middle and 200 high schools—to their next levels.

“We can upgrade schools only if the government provides us additional grants, otherwise the initiative can’t be taken up,” the education minister said. The creation of new colleges and up-gradation of government schools have been approved along with creation of posts.

Bukhari said that the total capex budget for the school education department is Rs 41 crore which means the government spends less than a rupee on each school per-day.

“We have 28,300 schools and if the government gives us only Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 crore additional grants, I will make 15,000 schools fully equipped with all facilities including proper accommodation, electricity, toilets, drinking water, fencing and other amenities,” he said.

At least 90 percent of government schools in J&K are understood to be without electricity, 70 percent schools without drinking water facility and 60 percent without libraries.

“80 percent schools are without toilets and 50 percent schools without benches for students. The government school students don’t get even books in time,” the education minister said, adding that he would seek additional allocation for textbooks as well.

For the higher education department, the revenue allocation is only Rs 780 crore as recurring grant to meet the salary requirement.

An official in the planning section of the higher education department said that out of Rs 780 crore, Rs 400 crore was released as grant-in-aid to colleges and the other Rs 380 crore to Kashmir and Jammu universities respectively.

“Besides Kashmir and Jammu universities, the department has to manage grant-in-aid for BGSBU Rajouri, IUST Awantipora and other institutions like Islamia college and Gandhi college,” he said.

The official said that the annual expenditure requirement for one college is Rs three crore for salary, purchase of books and other things.

“Some institutions are functioning from rented accommodations and for colleges having more faculties, the expenditure is more than Rs three crore,” the official said.

He said that the total capex budget for the higher education department is only Rs 148 crore out of which Rs 25 crore is given as grant-in-aid to the cluster universities while rest of the amount is spent on 96 colleges of the state.

“I am hopeful that government will keep additional grants for school and higher education departments in the upcoming budget,” the education minister said.

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