Who is utilizing grants released for clubbed schools?

Srinagar: Post merger of schools under rationalization, the school education department has failed to monitor the utilization of school grants released in favor of schools which have been merged with other government schools.

A top source in the department informed that the government of India has been releasing a whooping amount as maintenance grants in favour of the clubbed schools, however, no monitoring of these funds over the past three years is happening.

“Actually, the schools are clubbed physically but on papers and official records all these merged schools are mentioned as separate schools. So MHRD has not stopped releasing funds in favor of these schools,” a top official said, wishing not to be named. It may be recalled that the government in 2015 merged around 2406 schools which include 1834 schools operating from rented accommodations while as 572 school were functional in government owned buildings.

“After schools were clubbed, the department did not mention declared these schools as closed but as per Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) records, the schools are functional as separate schools,” the official said.

He said Ministry of Human Resource Development (MRD) under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is releasing an amount of Rs 7000 as maintenance grants in favour of primary schools and around Rs 5000 are released as school grants as well.

“Same applies for middle schools. MHRD releases around Rs 15000 as school grants and some amount is also released as maintenance grants as well. But nobody knows how these funds are utilized by the department when these school buildings are not in use,” the official said, adding that an amount of Rs 500 is released as teacher grant which is given to the teachers.

A top official said the funds after getting released from MHRD to state project directorate of SSA are disbursed to concerned Chief Education Officers (CEO).

“From CEO level, one cannot vouch whether funds are disbursed to ZEOs or not. Some CEO’s say they release these funds to ZEO’s and in some cases it remains in the accounts of CEO’s,” the official said.

He said all these funds are lapsable and can’t be kept unspent for one financial year.

“So there must be some process through which CEO’s and ZEO’s show utilisation of these funds to the department and later get the same funds in next financial year from MHRD,” he said.

Joint director SSA meanwhile, admitted that there was no monitoring of these funds and said a review meeting will be convened with all CEO’s and officials of planning section of the department to ascertain the details of about utilization of these funds.

“We will convene a meeting to get the facts checked and see how these funds are utilized,” he said.


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