I agree it is difficult for Bihar and Nitish to allocate Rs 27,000 crore for providing free and compulsory education to all the children in the age group of 6-14 years in the first year itself, when the total annual budget of the state is around Rs 50000 crore only.
Many chief ministers have posed the problem of funding almost in similar manner. However, the bill must be considered as one of absolute necessity. Without universalized good education, we can’t survive in globalizing world with so huge a population and we shall not be able to cash on the demographic dividend.
I wish the states would have shown a positive will to go out of the way to find innovative way to arrange the fund. I am saying so as in the same country funds meant for education remain unspent. Here is a report:
“After lying unspent for three years, the money collected from the proceeds of higher education cess would now be utilized for several schemes, including setting up of a finance corporation and for strengthening IITs and IIMs. Government has collected Rs 8,334 crore so far as secondary and higher education cess from April one, 2007.”
Can someone investigate and find out how much more of similar funds are lying unspent under some heads that can be easily brought in for education?
Can the education cess rate be continued for long or the rate enhanced in the interest of the nation that aspires to be a knowledge leader?
I got another thought that I shared on my face book that certainly requires assertion by the community for the interest of the community: Should the government spend Rs 941 crore as in 2008-09 on assistance for the minority to go to Haj or similar provision for other communities such as one for Mansarovar Yatra or should it be spent on educating and skilling the children of the community? Should not the community agree for this?
Should not the community force the authorities of the temple boards to use the wealth of temples for education? Should not the religious and social leaders declare the donations to the educational institutes at par to the charity to the temples and consider the building of educational institutes as building of temples?
It is a shame and unfortunate that the big business houses still prefer to construct huge temples instead of taking up some big projects to help the rural India in getting educated properly. And wherever they have initiated, the educational projects are for profit and located in tier-I cities. Tata Sons have similar plans. If just 100 topmost business houses just decide to set up the good education facilities in rural India, the scenario of education in rural India will change. And it will be a cheaper option too.
I shall again request the chief ministers to appeal to the people of the state for contributing to the fund for free and compulsory education. I remember the leadership of the leftist parties in West Bengal appealing for donation for setting up state power plants in the state when it thought the party at the centre was not cooperating with the state. And the people came out to support the cause, may be as token gesture. Some even contributed by giving their blood.
Even the institutes can create a fund for itself through donations from alumni.
My whole emphasis is for the leaders, all social, religious, and political who must change their mindset and exhibit the strong will power to make free and compulsory education act implemented.
And many will consider the allocation of fund by the central government for education as a better decision than the allocation for loan waivers or other similar ‘aam aadami’ programmes that are more for appeasing voters.
Let the nation not miss this chance.