The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in his report for the year ended March 2021 slammed the government of Maharashtra for its dismal performance in implementing Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA). Its objective was to provide strategic funding to eligible public higher education institutions to reform the higher education system as well as to improve the quality of public universities and colleges.
”One of the prerequisites for eligibility for funding under the RUSA was the allocation of 2% of the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GSDP) to higher education by the end of the period of the twelfth plan. The state government, while participating in RUSA, agreed (October 2013) to allocate 2% of the GSDP for higher education expenditure. Further, GoM, in its May 2018 Memorandum of Understanding with MHRD/National Mission, RUSA assured to allocate 2% of the state GSDP to higher education by the end of March 2020. audit however observed that actual spending on higher education during 2020-21 was only 0.31% of GSDP in the state,’ the CAG said in its report which was tabled Friday by the Minister of Education. State Finance at the State Assembly.
Furthermore, the Audit observed that instead of an increase in higher education expenditure, expenditure, on the contrary, showed a downward trend. ”It can be seen that although nominal GDPP increased by 34% during the period 2015-21, expenditure on higher and technical education during the same period only increased by 12%. The government gave no reason for the lower percentage of spending on higher education, but said (December 2021) that the state would strive to spend a higher percentage on higher education,” said he declared.
Delay in the release of subsidies
Funds received from the GoI were to be released by the state government with the state share to the State Projects Directorate (SPD) within 15 days of receipt of the central funds. Funds received by the SPD were, in turn, to be disbursed to educational institutions within 15 days of receipt of funds from the state government. ”The audit noticed that out of the Rs 376.97 crore (Central and State funds) disbursed by the state government to the SPD, there was a delay in disbursement of Rs 365.47 crore. (97%). Further, out of the Rs 376.97 crore received by the SPD, there was a delay in disbursement of Rs 245.56 crore (56%) to the participating tertiary institutions. Details of the delay in releasing funds to SPD and participating educational institutions,” the CAG noted.
The government attributed (December 2021) the delay in releasing funds to the late receipt of funds in the Budget Allocation System, clarifications from the DPR, and late release of funds due to COVID-19. “The response is not acceptable as the release of funds in the budget allocation system is the responsibility of the government, while the delay attributed to the clarification of the DPR only indicated a lack of detailed examination of the DPR before its approval. Moreover, the delay due to COVID 19 was limited to only Rs 6.75 crore (received in March 2020) out of the Rs 87.70 crore received from GoI in 2019-2020.
Posted: Friday, March 25, 2022, 3:59 PM IST