July 9, 2010

CORRUPTION IN SARVA SIKSHA ABHIYAN HAS NOT JUST ROBBED TODAY’S EDUCATION FROM THE LIVES OF CRORES OF CHILDREN,

BUT ALSO DESTROYED THEIR CHANCES OF DIGNIFIED LIVING FOREVER

Just like the last time I wrote about one of the landmark developmental initiatives of the UPA government – NREGA – this time I decided to write upon an equally, or rather more significant, developmental initiative: Sarva Siksha Abhiyan; an initiative which holds the promise of transforming the entire socio-economic landscape of the nation, if delivered to its potential! Now, there is a big ’if’ here, as going by precedence, each and every developmental initiative of the government has been full of corruption, coupled with delivery inadequacies. And the same has been a reality with respect to SSA as well.

A recent report by British media revealed that millions of pounds of aid for education under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme have literally disappeared. The report put this figure at a staggering £340 million, which is around Rs 2,327 crore! To further this report, the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) investigation found that almost £14 million (around Rs 100 crore) had been spent on luxuries viz. new cars, luxury beds, computers et al, that had no connection with SSA. So much so that around Rs 1.02 crore was transferred into non-traceable bank accounts. Not just that, electronic equipments like air conditioners, faxes, photocopiers, colour television sets et al were bought for regions which had no electricity supply! And that’s just one side of the entire SSA story! Another CAG report reveals that around 68 per cent of the Rs 8000 crore allotted for ‘Elementary Education’ development work, which was spent under SSA, had no records. A 2006 report highlighted irregularities of funds usage to the tune of Rs 470 million in almost 14 states in SSA schemes. A brief glimpse through other media reports, in the span of the last few years, is enough to give a concrete idea about how states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are spending allocated funds on projects that have nothing to do with SSA.

As such, India is amongst the lowest spenders on education. Couple this with the fact that India also houses the maximum number of illiterates in the world! In this light, it is criminal that funds to the tune of thousands of crores get siphoned away just like this. Putting the numbers into perspective, if the total allocated money (Rs 31,036 crore as per the budget 2010-11) were to be disbursed directly to 192 million children (or 19.2 crore children) who officially come under the ambit of SSA, then each student would receive more than Rs 1600 each this year. Considering that a student generally has to pay an average monthly fee of Rs 100 (actually ranges from Rs 70-150 in rural areas) at rural elementary schools in India, giving Rs 1600 annually to students directly would not only enable them to pay the annual fees, but would also result in some extra pocket money! The direct disbursement seems to be a much more rational and fruitful method, when seen in the shadows of corruption and scams.

If one were to calculate the per capita loss on the account of funds embezzled, then each deprived child has actually been robbed of Rs 121, so to speak! In other words, the embezzlers have shamelessly robbed formal education from the lives of above 1.4 crore children (considering the allocation being Rs 1600 per child)! And mind you, this corruption has far reaching future implications. It has not just robbed today’s education from the lives of crores of children, it has also forever robbed their chances of dignified living!

However, it is also a fact that this is not the first time we are coming across such scales of corruption. And it is also not the first time that a foreign media has reported about such deficiencies in our system. But nothing seems to change! Nothing would change till the time we have a decaying judiciary, as right now in the given judicial environment, the cost of corruption is negligible for the offender despite being extremely high on society! More so in the case of education! Considering that education provides the maximum returns on investment to the society, the delivery framework around an initiative like SSA has to be cast in stone! The judiciary has to necessarily dole out such stringent sentences to the guilty – and that too quickly – so that it sets the right precedent for future off enders! And if we are incapable of doing so, then we have no business to draft any developmental initiative – under the garb of which, we keep robbing national resources for private gains. Enough is enough!

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14 comments:

biprojit said...

Dear Sir,

There is no denying the fact, that from time immemorial the most lucrative schemes of the govt. for development, have been always accompanied by endless covers of corruption, due to which they never reach the common man and subsequently turn out be a blunder.
But sir, over the years nothing has changed. Neither the govt. nor have "WE". I often find people, cursing the govt. or the bureaucrats, for their miseries. But what they fail to realize is that, this attitude of theirs, i.e, merely talking and doing nothing, is not at all going to give them back, what they already lost. What they need to understand is that, corruption is present in every part of the world, may it be the most developed or the under-developed nation. What actually creates the difference in the scenario of the corruption between our great motherland and the rest of the world is that, every-where, except us, people are very to sincere to their duties. They are aware of their basic rights, and are no-where ready to compromise them. In our country, we have a huge fleet of visionaries comprising of IAS-officers, IPS-officers, engineers, educationist, doctors, self-styled leaders, etc, etc. But what we actually don't have is a simple man who would like to sincerely contribute to his job, what ever that may be. There are so many teachers, under the SSA who are well aware of the cancers of this diseased scheme, but they don't protest. When i was a kid, i thought, teachers were the most respected class of the society, who give us so much for so less, but as i grew, i understood what actually the situation was. Don't they feel for the poor students who come to them in hope for education and also the mid-day meals. Aren't they capable enough, armed with their qualifications, to fight the whimsical desires of the nasty politicians & other wrong-doers. They are!! But what camouflages their capability is their "habit of getting used-to". There are other officers too, who themselves do not resort to corruption, but at the same time they do not fight against those who are corrupt. The story is the same everywhere, every-department, & for every-scheme. All that i want to emphasize is that, since it is our life, we must first inculcate the quality to stop what we feel is not right. We must learn from the wild-life, where the animals do their best, all on their own, to survive the greatest of calamities. The government, though has a responsibility to look after the ground-level implementation of its schemes, but since it fails to do the requisite, so it does its best by framing the policies, at least. The rest of the responsibilities, as it is evident, is shouldered on us. Until and unless, we become honest to ourselves, none is going to be honest to be us.

Hoping that you agree my point.

With best of wishes and regards.

Biprojit

ARINDAM CHATTERJEE said...

It is shameful that India is amongst lowest spenders in education. And India is standing one of the highest black money creators. Corruption is killing us.

ARINDAM CHATTERJEE said...

It is shameful that India is amongst lowest spenders in education. And India is standing one of the highest black money creators. Corruption is killing us.

bhaskar reddy said...

Dear sir,
I think that the schemes wich are being implememted by the, so called govt are not at all aware by most of the common people and it really makes me sad that even recently there were spelling mistakes and grammatical errors which completely changes the context have been founded. so the point that i want to say is ,all the above points are the result of corruption and its clearly visible that rich are getting richer by backstabbing poor .

SANJEEV RANJAN said...

dear sir,
i support you point. it was shameless to see this pathetic conditions and still there seems no change at all.at point, india has vision off becoming great power, but nowhere it seems. corruption kills us. really pathetic condition and no one is listen and to see.

shwetanshu said...

Dear Sir,corruption is not only in the govt any mote but it has seeped in private sector as well.......Recently ,i got hold of a HR guy working for infosys....I spoke to him about the campus placements.His answer was perfectly in line with the ongoing culture of rapid corruption.they charge any where between 15-20 lacs for campus placements from one college.....this is the way most of the engineering colleges are able to invite infosys to their campus...God help us all........
Regards
jain....

Chanakya said...

Dear Sir, I have just started a new unit, in the process of which I have understood that there is no respect for entrepreneur in our country. Although, our govt has been claiming that it has put an end to the license raj, but in true sense license raj has been transformed into NOC raj. Corruption has made people with potential to stay away from entrepreneurship and it is continueing till date. To just get an official to sign a single paper it takes 5 days and Rs.5000/-. My question to our govt is when do we support intellects to help our country grow. I think and feel that its time to act and raise voice through all kinds of media to stop corruption. Or else our democracy is at threat.

Thank You
Dash

Technology Journal said...

Not to sound regressive or decadent but there is something to learn from the poor.

Our Education system hardly imparts any employable skills to the hoards of qualified graduates who do not have the requisite skill sets.

Have you ever heard of a poor child suiciding because of unemployment. They have entrepreneurship and skills to earn and deal with the complex world at a young age.

The schools and college could take a note of a fact that a ounce of skill is worth tons of theoretical knowledge.

SANJOY said...

Dear Sir,

I am agreed with your valued points but my question is that why our media is sleeping on burning subject!!!
Why not media make all corrupted Politician's life miserable!!!
They are all taking advantage of our democracy and honesty. But one day will come when we all come together and create a resonance which will throw them to out of this world!!!

婉婷 said...

真是太猛了,請受小弟一拜Orz(>O<)......................................................

Hardika said...

Hi.I recently read your article about physical punishment in schools. I'm in absolute agreement with the fact that slapping or beating children up will in no way ever turn them into a better student or even a human being. It surely displays a teacher's lack of education and that they are not fit to be teachers in the first place. However, saying that good teachers never have a problem and only bad teachers do and therefore students should simply stop going for the classes is,in my view, not justified at all. Every class has a particular crowd of students who act like a dog's tail, no matter how much you try to improve them or act patient with them, they'll never improve and will always be a menace. The teacher can't be blamed in such circumstances. Am sorry for this remark but, after 16years of experience as a teacher and being the head of such a prestigious institute as IIPM, such a comment from you was least expectedand is extremely shocking and disappointing.
Hardika Narula

Iftekar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Parantap said...

Dear Sir,
Being fully aware of the truth behind SSA makes me equally indignant as you are. Several schemes laid down by Govt.of India rot in secretariat,just because we don't realize our duty to a fellow citizen.
Corruption is lyk a systematic step by step process starting fro the senior most level and coming back to the basic level.I don't believe in the fact that corruption starts from the basic level.It starts from the authority to the basic level.If the person in authority is honest then he sees to it that people working below him should be working lyk him,otherwise he is just their mirror image.Very few of the funds given by Govt. reaches the basic level that is to say a primary village school,but corruption does not end here.Our so called "respected Masterji and Masterniji "play there role very well by distributing the 9/10th of the food material among themselves and the Sarpanch.Rest 1/10 of already such a minuscule amount goes to children as mid day meal.The whole of this procedure is unfathomable.
-Parantap Bhatt

Kluber said...

Dear Sir,

There is an unending saga of corruption in the name of SSA which relates specially to the disabled, especially the Hearing Impaireds and the Physically Impaired.

Hundreds of wheel chairs and Hearing aids are purchased for "utilising funds" of the SSA by State Govts, but major of them go rot in some schools.

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