TED NewsDesk, New Delhi: The national accounting guardian, CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) has questioned the state Government of J&K on the pendency of the establishment of 19 model schools. The non-seriousness of the education department was highlighted when a recent report on Social, General, Economic, and Revenue was presented by the J&K Government in the Parliament for the year 2019.
CAG commented on the discrepancy of more than Rs. 10000 crores in the receipts, saying that it ‘does not give a fair picture of its accounts’. With the aim of amending the system and bringing more transparency to it, the Jammu & Kashmir Government was asked to refund the unspent funds allotted for the establishment of model schools in the state.
The 2008 scheme of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan was launched to provide quality secondary schools in every educationally backward block (EBB). Due to the special status of the state back then, the scheme’s funding pattern was 90:10 for the Government of India and State Government, where GOI dispersed their 90% with Rs. 25.82 crore in February 2010 whereas the State Government released Rs. 2.87.
On the initial proposal submitted to the Grant-in-Aid Committee by the J&K Government, 17 new model schools were to be established, while 7 existing schools were proposed to be converted.
Due to the higher-than-predicted cost for setting up the schools that came to the notice of the GIAC in November 2009, the state government was asked to meet the extra financial burden or revise the budget to set up 19 schools. After the GIAC’s recommendation, the budget was revised to bring it within the norms of the scheme.
Hence, the revised cost was submitted to the Project Approval Board (PAB) and was sanctioned by the Department of School Education & Literacy (DSEL) & MHRD after amending it to allow the state to set up the 19 model schools. The amended proposal based on the State Schedule of Rates (SSOR) was scheduled to be submitted by the State Government of J&K in August 2014 to the DSEL as stated by the 2019 Audit Report submitted in the Parliament.
The CAG said that even after the slackening of established norms for secondary schools, the state of records from 2019 show the lack of utilization of funds allocated to provide quality model schools in the EBB. The failure to implement the scheme resulted in the deprivation of the beneficiaries from education.
The additional cost for infrastructure was to be arranged by the state government after the centre delinked itself from the scheme in 2015. The interest on grants-in-aid of Rs. 25.82 crore and the additional share of the state, Rs. 5.74 crore has been blocked, shared CAG.