New Delhi: Despite demanding more funds from the centre every year to implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act, state governments have failed to utilize over Rs87,000 crore of the allocated corpus in the first six years of the Act, affecting the effectiveness of the legislation that makes education a fundamental right for children in the 6-14 age group.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in a performance audit that was tabled in Parliament on Friday, said that “governments/state implementing societies were consistently unable to utilize the funds". And this under-utilization ranged from 21-41% between 2010-11 and 2015-16.
Bihar, for instance, which has lagged in education outcomes for years, had not been able to utilize over Rs26,500 crore of the RTE corpus between 2010-11 and 2015-16, the audit report showed.
The report also said that scrutiny of utilization certificates issued by the human resource development ministry revealed that the unspent/closing balance at the end of the year “did not tally with the opening balance of the succeeding years for all the years during 2010-11 to 2015-16".
The RTE Act, which came into force in April 2010, promises eight years of mandatory schooling to all children in the 6-14 age group. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, or the education for all initiative, was implemented via this Act.
“Retention of huge balances by state governments, year after year, at the close of each financial year, is indicative of poor internal control by the concerned authorities in the states/centre," the auditor said.
“This reflects poor planning and execution by state governments, resulting in non-accomplishment of goals to provide infrastructure in three years and it remains a distinct target even after six years of implementation of the Act," it added.
The CAG recommended better monitoring of funds allocated, and asked both centre and states to finalize an annual work plan and budget for RTE in alignment with the Union budget for better coordination and utilization.