Dwindling states’ share in education worries Govt

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday regretted the gradual decline in spending by the States on education and asked them to increase it by at least three fold to match the pace of the expansion plans of the Government.

As the expenditure by States declines, it affects the target to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) which has been abysmal in the country. The expenditure on education currently remains at 3.54 per cent of GDP against the target to increase it to s ix per cent, Higher Education Secretary, Mr R P Agrawal said at a conference of State ministers here.

“We find the States’ contribution to education sector has been dwindling. Unless they increase their share, we cannot achieve the target of six per cent GDP expenditure on education. This may affect quality and our target to increase the GER, that shows the percentage of youths in the age group of 18 to 24 years enrolled in higher education,” he said.

The secretary said in the 3.54 per cent of GDP being spent on education, the Centre’s contribution is about 0.79 per cent while the states put 2.75 per cent. However, the share of the states was over four per cent in 1999.

The States’ share started declining from 2001 onwards. States such as Maharshtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Bihar spend less than two per cent of their Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), he said.

“The Centre has made significant increase in the spending on education in the 11th plan. The States have to at least increase their spending by three times,” Mr Agrawal said.

The HRD Minister Mr Arjun Singh also asked the States to cooperate the Union government in achieving the targets in education. – PTI

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