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Govt. spends less than four per cent of its GDP on education

Sunday 14 May 2006

Special Correspondent

Study on budget allocations and expenditures in education sector

JAIPUR: Rajasthan spends less than four per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on education and less than one per cent of its GDP on health. There has been an increase of 23 per cent in the number of primary schools in the past 55 years in the State, which brought about considerable improvement in the enrolment of children but their retention at primary school level has remained below 40 per cent. About 99 per cent of the revenue expenditure on elementary education in the State is spent on the wages of teachers and non-teaching staff.

A comparative study on the successive budget allocations and expenditures in the health and education sectors in Rajasthan indicates that even while the allocations in both the areas have gone up over a period they are nowhere near the stipulated norms. In education the budgetary allocation registered an increase of 79.02 per cent in 2006-07 from that of 1998-99. The increase was 94.30 per cent in the case of primary education, 59.59 per cent in secondary education and 35.3 per cent in higher education.

In the year 2003-04, the State spent Rs.13, 000 per student at the university level, Rs.7632.6 at the middle school level and Rs.2046 at the elementary level. The State’s medical expenditure on an individual was Rs.172.72 in 2003-04 against Rs.139.01 in 1997-98. The State which has a total population of 6.15 crore now has one doctor for 9816 against one doctor for 7418 persons in 1996-97. The State has one bed for 1530 persons currently, which was one bed for 1361 persons in 1991-92. This year’s (2006-07) per capita allocation in health is Rs.194.19.

A study, conducted by the Budget Analysis Rajasthan Centre (BARC) here notes that the expenditure on women’s education had in fact come down from 9.54 per cent of the budget allocations in 1998-99 to 8.98 per cent in 2006-07(budget estimates). At primary level the expenditure on girl child’s education registered an increase from 3.69 in 1998-99 to 4.27 per cent in 2006-07(BE). However in the middle school level it came down to 4.10 per cent in the current budget from 5.24 in 1998-99. The expenditure on girls’ education at the university level has remained less than 1 per cent in the past 10 budgets in the State.

"The absence of lady teachers at the primary levels is a major factor hampering the growth of women’s education in Rajasthan," Vijay Goyal, senior budget analyst of BARC said. In primary education lady teacher’s account for only 25 per cent, he pointed out.

He attributed the poor retention of student to the poor student teacher ratio, which is 1:88 at primary level, 1:16 at upper primary level and 1:45 at elementary level. According to the study, the allocation for health had remained less than 1 per cent of the State GDP in all the State Budgets since 1999-2000 and only in 1998-99 it touched 1 per cent of the State GDP and 5.2 per cent of the total budgetary sanctions.

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