TS Budget: Big figures, but no moolah to education department

Hyderabad: The state government has only allocated ₹19,093 crore, up from ₹16,085.69 crore last year, to the education department out of the ₹2.9 lakh crore Budget outlay presented for the financial year 2023–24. The government teachers criticised the government, calling it careless and insufficient Budget because it does not cover all of the necessary expenses of the schools.

On the other hand, the state government's flagship initiative, Mana Ooru Mana Badi, which aims to upgrade the basic infrastructure in over 26,000 government and local body schools for an estimated cost of ₹7,289 crore, was left out of the state budget that was presented on Monday.

“There are several schools that are in dire need of classrooms and are seated in random community halls which are worsening their quality of education. The government only wants to develop classrooms that are already in good shape to make headlines while ignoring the ground reality,” an education department official said.

The government rarely releases the funds specified in the budget and only presents large figures, according to department of education officials. There are still issues with classrooms, bathrooms, digital learning, a shortage of teachers, and cleaners.

“Out of the estimated cost given in the budget, only the salaries will be covered. The amount allocated to electricity, rent and water, remains an issue. All big numbers, but no money is granted. Many schools and district education offices run out of electricity. Quality of mid-day meals is poor and benches in schools continue to remain in a bad shape," said Syam K, government high school teacher.

Telangana State United Teachers Federation general secretary and a high school teacher in Khammam Ch. Ravi said only 680 schools across the state have been developed under Mana Ooru Mana Badi programme, so far, and not 1,200. About 60 to 70 percent out of the total funds allocated in the past were released for the programme.

Talking to Deccan Chronicle, education department secretary V. Karuna said that the budget for the programme is mentioned under the convergence scheme. “From NABARD we are about to get 1000 crore and a total of 2500 crore is expected for this scheme from other sectors. "Yes, there is a delay. It is because it is difficult to contact 30 lakh contractors at once. It’s our aim to now finish developing at least 1,000 schools per month,” she said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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