Funding declining annually
SRINAGAR: Demonstrating official apathy towards an already deprived section of society, authorities in J&K spent a meagre Rs 8 a day on each of the over 13,000 specially-abled children ‘benefited’ in the state last year, official records reveal.
Even on the fund spending, almost half the specially-abled children, or Children with Special Needs (CWSN), in the state were left out of the benefits, as per the official figures.
With a total of 23,341 CWSN identified in the state in financial year 2017-18, only 13,321 were approved for the funding with just Rs 3,000 per head spent on them during the whole year.
Official figures revealed that out of the 23,341 CWSN, only 17,705 were enrolled in government schools.
According to the documents, escorts for just 1,515 CWSN and transport facilities for just 1,200 such children were covered in the last financial, with the government spending just Rs 250 per month for “10 months” on each of the services.
Although Rs 399.63 lakh were allocated for Inclusive Education (IE), a flagship programme of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) which is expected to mainstream CWSN for financial year 2017-18, official records show a drastic decline in the spending on CWSN over the years.
Except in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 financials, in which, as per the document, “100 percent” of the approved plans of Rs 200.248 lakh and Rs 178.265 lakh were spent, the spending on CWSN has dwindled ever since.
Of the approved plans of Rs 456.852 lakh, Rs 129.530 lakh, Rs 644.88 lakh, Rs 1046.85 lakh and Rs 382.98 lakh for the financial years 2005-06, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14, only Rs 132 lakh, Rs 21.45 lakh, Rs 200.89 lakh, Rs 348.91 lakh and Rs 105.135 lakh were spent respectively, reveals the document.
No money, as per the document, was spent on CWSN during financial years 2008-09 and 2010-11.
Asked why all CWSN were not approved for funding from the central government, State Coordinator IE, J&K, T R Mangotra told Kashmir Reader that the central government had decided against covering those CWSN admitted in private and special schools.
“The central government argues that if the children are already enrolled in private schools, why they should cover them, because the funding is meant for the deprived children,” Mangotra said.
On the meagre spending on CWSN, Mangotra said that they had to rely solely on the funding from the central government as the state shared “only 10 percent” of the funds.
“There are other activities involved as well, including the teacher salaries, on which we have to spend,” he said.
After the Government of India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) merged various education schemes recently, Mangotra hoped that the spending on specially-abled children would increase by “500 rupees per child” from this year.
The key parameters of the expenditure on CWSN chiefly include aids and appliances for the children, salaries of the resource teachers, assessment camps, teacher training in sign language and Braille books for blind children.
The state government has set up special ‘Resource Rooms’ for CWSN to provide them elementary education.