Departmental failure to take timely action for utilisation of amounts received from the Government of India (GoI) for the establishment of Model Schools at block level resulted in depriving quality education to the intended beneficiaries and non-utilisation of total available funds of
44.13 crore. The State Government contribution of 5.74 crore and interest accrued included in the available fund of ` 44.13 crores was also blocked, for ten years.
Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India (GoI) launched a scheme (November 2008) with the objective of having at least one good quality secondary
school (Model School) in every Educationally Backward Block (EBB). The scheme was to be implemented from 2009-10 onwards. As the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was a special category State, the funding pattern through Grant-in-aid for implementation of the scheme was 90:10 for GoI and Government of Jammu and
Kashmir (GoJ&K) respectively.
The GoJ&K submitted proposals (November 2009) to the Grant-in-aid Committee (GIAC) of DSEL, MHRD, GoI for setting up of 24 (17 new schools and conversion of seven existing schools) for EBBs. During its third meeting (November 2009) the GIAC observed that the projected unit cost of
6.18 crore was higher than the scheme norm of 3.02 crore per Model School and therefore, the State Government was required to either revise the estimate or to meet the extra financial burden. In the same meeting, the representative from the State of J&K informed the GIAC that the estimates will be revised so as to bring it within the scheme norms. The GIAC thereby recommended 19 new model schools (November 2009) to be set up in the State. Thereafter, revision of cost was stated to be submitted to Project Approval Board (PAB) in 2010-11. Subsequently, amendments were made to existing provisions by the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), GoI, which allowed (April 2014) the State of Jammu and Kashmir an opportunity to revise the cost based on State Schedule of Rates (SSoR) in respect of the sanctioned 19 model schools for the EBBs as a one-time exception. A proposal based on the SSoR
2012 was stated to be submitted (August 2014) by the GoJ&K to the DSEL as per the information provided by the State Project Director, Samagra Shiksha, J&K Noor
Society1 . No relevant details of the revised proposals were provided on the grounds that Directorate of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) remained submerged in devastating floods in the Valley in the month of September 2014 for a period of more than 25 days and most of the records in hard copy were destroyed. Subsequently, GoI, in February 2015 delinked the scheme from GoI support.
The grant-in-aid of
25.82 crore (90 per cent) of first installment was released (February 2010) and State Government released 2.87 crore (June 2010) to State Project Director (SPD) Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). The entire amount of
29.23 crore2 was transferred in December 2010 and kept at the disposal of State Project Director, Samagra Shiksha, J&K Noor Society. Further, the State Government released an additional State share of 2.87 crore (January 2011).
Scrutiny of records (January 2019) of State Project Director, Samagra Shiksha3 revealed that the grants-in-aid of
25.82 crore and State share of 5.74 crore were parked in the saving bank account of J&K Noor Society. Even after a lapse of ten years, the Government has not taken the adequate initiative (July 2019) for the implementation of the
the scheme in the State.
Thus, failure of the Department to take timely action despite relaxation of norms by DSEL, MHRD, GoI for utilisation of amounts received from the GoI for the establishment of Model schools not only resulted in non-utilisation of
44.13 crore4 over a period of ten years but also deprived the intended beneficiaries from quality education. Even the State Share of 5.74 crore, plus interest included in the
44.13 crore was blocked. On this being pointed out (January 2019) by audit, the Chief Accounts Officer, Samagra Shiksha, Jammu and Kashmir State stated (July 2019/ June 2020) that the amount initially approved for establishment of model school was inadequate to take the construction work, however, the case regarding revision of cost submitted (2010-11) to Project Approval Board (PAB) was undecided (June 2020). The reply is not tenable as the Department has not availed the benefit to either revise the unit cost estimate of each school or to meet the financial burden despite relaxation of norms by DSEL, MHRD, GoI. Besides, after delinking of the scheme from the GoI support in 2015, the Department was to arrange the additional funds from its own resources for which no steps were taken and 44.13 crore continued to be held in the bank account.
The matter was referred to the Department/ Government in May 2020; their replies were awaited (September 2020).
The State Government may ensure that unspent amount along with interest accrued thereon may be refunded in accordance with the conditions laid down in the sanction order of the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resources Development and responsibility fixed for non-establishment of model schools.
- J&K Noor Society RMSA is the State Implementing Society for Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan.
- 2. Central Share:
25.82 crore; State Share:2.87 crore and interest:
0.54 crore. 3 Samagra Shiksha - an Integrated Scheme of School Education has subsumed the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE). 4 Central Share:25.82 crore; State Share:
5.74 crore and interest:12.57 crore (ending December 2018).