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Bengal: Education minister accuses center of withholding Sarva Siksha Mission funds

March 30, 2024
Mita Mukherjee

Bengal education minister Bratya Basu on Friday accused the Union government of not releasing the third installment of funds allotted for Sarva Shiksha Mission (SSM) in the state.

The state has not received the funds even though the Union ministry of finance and the internal finance division of the ministry of education has approved the funds, the minister said.

On his X handle, Basu wrote: “Ministry of Finance and Internal Finance Division of Ministry of Education has cleared the release of 3rd installment for West Bengal for the SSM. Still the fund has not been released to the State. The unstated reason is that we have not signed MoU with GoI on PM SHRI!”.

The PM Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI) scheme aims to upgrade more than 14,500 government aided schools which is expected to benefit nearly 20 lakh students. The objective of developing the schools is to ensure that they can serve as model institutes in spirit of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

The Centre had said that every state will have to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Centre in order to avail of the funds under the scheme.

Bengal and some other states including Delhi, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have not joined the scheme.

“It is completely unethical and illegal to link the release of fund of one scheme with a separate scheme. Moreover, why should a scheme be named PM SHRI when the State is bearing 40% of the share?#petty politics#,” Basu wrote on his X handle.

The Sarva Siksha Mission scheme is implemented by the state governments. The Centre provides 60 percent of the total cost of implementing the scheme while the states are required to bear 40% of the share.

Basu said that he had written to the Centre requesting it to release the funds for the interest of students but nothing has been done so far in this regard.

The education minister had accused the Union government of giving inadequate funds to the state under the same scheme even before. He had said on the floor of the state Assembly on February 6 that Bengal is supposed to get Rs 1745.79 crore for the financial year 2023-24 under the Sarva Shiksha Mission. But till December 31, 2023 the state received only Rs 311.294 crore.

The minister had alleged that the Centre had also deprived the state of funds allotted under mid-day meal and other schemes under the education sector.

Also read: Bengal VCs not included in UGC panel, says education minister Bratya Basu

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