Policy Matters

Centre concerned over dwindling states’ share in education

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The Centre has 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 which has been abysmal in the country.

The expenditure on education currently remains at 3.54% of GDP against the target to increase it to 6%, Higher Education Secretary R P Agrawal said at a conference of state ministers.

'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% of GDP being spent on education, the Centre's contribution is about 0.79% while the states put 2.75%. However, the share of the states was over 4% in 1999. The states' share started declining from 2001 onwards.

States like Maharshtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Bihar spend less than two% 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,' Agrawal said.

HRD Minister Arjun Singh also asked the states to cooperate with the Central government in achieving the targets in education. 

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