The Committee has stated that “it would expect that the funds are fully utilized for the purpose and are not subsequently revised for one or the other reason.” It notes that a significant part of the increased allocation this year is aimed at facilitating construction of additional Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) in the next two years to meet the target of 740 EMRS by 2025-26.
The 31 member Committee led by BJP member Rama Devi states “it would, though, remain for the Committee to see if the enhancement in the budgetary allocation for 2023-24 stays put as it has been the trend in the ministry so far to get reduced funds from BE to RE stage.”
The Committee notes that in the year 2020-21, the BE of the ministry was revised from Rs 7,205 crore to Rs 5,472 crore and in 2021-22 the BE of Rs 7484 crore was revised to Rs 6,126 crore. Similarly, in 2022-23, the BE of Rs 8,406 crore was also reduced to Rs 7,246 crore at RE stage.
“The contention of MoTAs that the implementation of the schemes slowed down during 2020- 21 and 2021-22 as the governmental and non-governmental implementing agencies were not able to carry out the field level activities in the wake of Covid-19 Pandemic is not convincing at least for 2022-23 as by 2022 the impact of the pandemic had weakened considerably,” the Committee states in its its observations in the report on ‘Demands for Grants for the year 2023-24’ pertaining to the MoTA.
“After overall analysis of all the reasons given by the ministry, the Committee have found that absence of advance planning, change in procedures and failure of States/UTs to implement schemes with the requisite enthusiasm and procedural discipline, are the major reasons, due to which actual expenditure during these years was less in comparison to BE,” it is stated in the report.
The Committee has sought that the ministry should undertake an exhaustive exercise to keep all stakeholders informed about adherence to procedural requirements in implementation of various schemes and take corrective measures.
In another chapter on EMRS schools, the Committee notes with concern that while the target of establishing 740 EMRS has been set to be achieved by 2025-26, only 401 schools have been made functional as on February 28. This would mean making 339 EMRS functional in the remaining financial years, the Committee observes and expresses its apprehension about the achievement of the target as MoTA could only spend Rs 1,465 crore till January 31 out of the budgetary estimates of Rs 2000 crore under EMRS in 2022-23.
The ministry has informed that around 2.5 years are required for one EMRS to complete hence the Committee expects all remaining EMRS construction to start now if the target is to complete those by 2025-26. The Committee underlines that the government must implement the proposal to appoint all proposed 38,800 teachers and staff for the EMRSs well in time and address the difficulties of first time learners devoid of any formal education in clearing entrance exams for EMRS.
According to the scheme the EMRSs are to be established in every block having more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons. A total of 740 EMRSs have been identified to be established to extend benefit to 3.5 lakh scheduled tribe students. Till date 689 schools have been sanctioned and 401 EMRS have been made functional. Construction with regard to 247 schools has been completed and 229 schools are under construction and 213 schools are in pre-construction stages.