Three Centrally sponsored schemes merge into Integrated scheme from this academic

March 19, 2018 10:56 AM

Punjab News Express/Y.S. RANA
CHANDIGARH: In bid to cut cost, bring integrated quality education and good administration, the three centrally sponsored schemes which have been in operation for the past 15 years for improving quality of education and infrastructure in government schools at elementary and secondary levels will be replaced by a new integrated scheme for Class 1 to 12 from this academic. For this purpose, the Ministry of HRD, New Delhi has constituted a committee in February last. The merger of the existing scheme was proposed by Niti Aayog after a detailed assessment.

A meeting of the committee for formulating the Manual on Financial Management and Procurement for the said integrated scheme was held in New Delhi on March 15 last. The meeting was attended by 12 members of the committee and State Project Directors of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The finance controllers (FCs) of Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have been included as co-opted members.
In the meeting issues such as to carve out the main contours of the Manual and Chapters and Contents to be covered; areas and aspects which require modification with respect to finance and guidelines and procedures under SSA, RMSA and TE; district-wise plan formulation be continued and followed and how to include teacher education related interventions were discussed.

While talking to this reporter, Mr Vijay Vij, Finance Controller, Chandigarh, only member of the committee from this region said that a meeting was held in Delhi for setting up of norms for the new Integrated Education Scheme where suggestions of the members were discussed at length. He has suggested in the meeting that one accountant and a clerk should be provided for a cluster of schools for proper maintenance of accounts. At present, in Chandigarh there are 20 clusters of schools and no school has its independent accountant, he says and adds that teachers are working as accountants.

At present, the interventions/component under the SSA, RMSA and Teacher Education schemes have been in operation for the past about 15 years for improving the education quality and infrastructure in government schools at elementary level and secondary level. The schemes are being implemented through three different state implementing societies created by State/UTs under Societies Registration Act 1860.
The Central share and State share were earlier released to State Implementing Society (SIS) and from 2014-15 the central share is being released to State/UTs Treasury which in turn release the central and state share to SIS. Then SISs further releases the funds to district and from there funds are transferred electronically to Government and government aided schools.

While talking to Mr Vij he further stated that funds were utilized as per norms and financial provision as the Manual on Financial Management and Procurement of respective schemes. It creates a lot of administrative as well as financial problems, he says and adds to cope with these problems it is decided to have one integrated education scheme. Now after the formulation and approval of new integrated schemes for school education, it has to be implemented by single State Implementing Society, he said.

Presently, the three schemes operate through separate SIS with separate bank accounts, separate project offices and separate project personnel. The institutional arrangements including for planning, budgeting, training and monitoring and evaluation are separate for all the schemes. The new scheme enables the States to bring a single Plan for the entire school education sector, said Mr Vij.

“Merger of schemes will lead to an optimal utilization of budgetary allocations and effective use of human resources and institutional structures, besides synergizing approaches to improve access, participation, student flow/internal efficiency and equity as far as possible,” feels Mr Vij.

The budget of SSA, RMSA and STE will be merged and the Centre will provide funds on 60:40 sharing basis to most states and 90:10 to north-eastern states and three Himalayan states, including Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. While the states will submit separate plans for each of these schemes at present, the new programme envisages a single plan for the entire school education sector under the new programme.

Next meeting of the committee for formulating and Manual on Financial Management and Procurement for the integrated scheme will be held on April 12 next.

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