Several state governments are angry at the Federal Government’s plan to pass on financial responsibility of implementing the Fundamental Right to Education for children in the six-to-14 age group out of State Budgets. They have the Union Human Resource Development Ministry to postpone the Bill out of the 11th Five-Year Plan. The Federal Government had circulated a draft bill mid-June which basically said that those who conformed to the draft will continue to get the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) based matching funds totaling 75% of the cost and those who don’t would have to bear 50% of the cost.
States disagree that they would have to bear the burden as it was a Federal initiative and therefore needs funding from Central funds to make the law
justifiable. The total cost of this initiative is estimated to be Rs. 53,000 crores (USD 11.52 billion) annually.
The original Fundamental Right to Education legislation was drafted four years ago by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government. After exploring many alternatives, the Government selected the cost sharing route as it wants to invest heavily in the
politically convenient reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in premier institutions.
A national study of 506 rural districts has revealed that over 14 million children still do not go to school
with Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa accounting for 71.2% of this number. A World Bank survey studying absenteeism in many countries found that
25% of teachers in India miss work on an average every day
and of those present only 50% are “engaged in the act of teaching.