Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 10:
Following the recent announcement by the Central Government to bring down its share of funding to Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), Odisha Government stands to lose hundreds of crores in central grants for SSA. The state government is planning to protest the decision of the Union Government to reduce its share from 65% eralier to 50% now and seek a review of the decision.
Sources in the School and Mass Education department said the state had preapred a budget of Rs 2321 crore for Sarva Siksha Abhiyan in 2015-16. While the Centre was supposed to fund 65 percent of the budget, the state was supposed to fund the remaining 35 percent.
However, as per a recent notification issued by the Union HRD ministry, the share between the Centre and the state would now become 50:50. It means the state has to spend hundreds of crores more from its own coffers to meet its share of Rs 1,160 crore.
A perturbed Odisha Government is in trouble after the huge financial burden struck it unexpectedly. It has expressed its objection to the Union Government and considers hardening its stand further to reverse the decision.
“The state would have to take an additional burden of more than 500 crore because of the new arrangement. We are soon going to write to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani to protest this. If required, I will meet her and request her not to change the sharing pattern. We would also ask our MPs to meet the minister and demand continuation of the old funding pattern,” said School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra.
Such a financial burden in the middle of the financial year would lead to issues in funding other programmes such as mid day meal, model school, development of school infrastructure and payment of teacher’s salary, Mishra pointed out.