CAG exposes shoddy RTE Act implementation, financial mismanagement in Arunachal

1,573 schools without safe and drinking water facilities

[ Tongam Rina ]
ITANAGAR, Oct 23: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report for the year ended 2016 has said that objective of providing free and compulsory education to every eligible child has not been achieved in Arunachal Pradesh even after six years of implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
The report said that at the end of March 2016, out of school children stood at 57,032 even after six years of implementation of the Act.
As on March 2016, the number of children not enrolled stood at 26,009 with 7,644 at the primary level and 18,365 at the upper primary while the drop out stood at 31,023.
In upper primary schools, the percentage of enrolment was 87.50 in 2012-2013, but declined during the subsequent years to 82.13 percent in 2015-16.
The CAG report says that local authorities did not ensure admission and attendance of every eligible child and also failed to motivate the parents to admit their children in schools. The CAG notes that the reasons for the shortfall in achievement of compulsory admission of all eligible children were not analyzed by the state government.
The SSA Rajya Mission, responding to queries from this daily said house-hold survey for identification of children eligible for elementary education, especially for identification of Out of School Children (OoSC) has been conducted, and as per survey, only 3,020 children were found out of school (1900 dropouts and 1120 never enrolled) in the age group of 6-14 years in 2016-17.
The state has undertaken a massive data cleaning exercise for identifying actual enrolment of children with their Aadhaar card through Student Data Management Information System, the department further said. The Rajya Mission said that school mapping could not be completed due to want of fund.
Even the basic facilities in the schools are lacking, according to the report.
Of the 3,335 schools, an astounding 1,573 were without safe and drinking water facilities. While 2,669 were without library facilities, more than 2,500 schools had no facilities for children with special needs.
The report also questions massive anomalies in procurement of textbooks and school uniforms.
During 2013-14, there was 15 percent shortfall in purchase of books. The amount allotted for the period was Rs 771.3 lakhs, of which Rs 757.13 lakhs were spent.
The shortfall in purchase of books stood at a massive 55 percent in 2015-16. Of the 13,62,358 only 6,13,500 books were purchased at a total amount allotted at Rs 292.09 lakhs.
However, the number of books purchased between 2010-16 is more than required because there was an excess purchase of 42 percent during 2011-12. During 2010-11 and in 2012-13 also there was excess purchase of books.
However, work books were not received in any of the test checked schools, which amounts to Rs 123.03 lakhs. The CAG states that matter regarding excess procurement of work book and its non-supply to the school needs to be examined by the state.
In scrutiny of records, it was noticed in Audit that in 2010-11, SSA Rajya Mission procured 61,162 textbooks in July 2010 at a cost of Rs 620.50 lakh from M/s Shanti Enterprises, Naharlagun for distribution to 2,93,597 students enrolled during the year. Audit, however, observed that Directorate of Elementary Education had already procured 16,83,145 textbooks, i.e. more than the requirement of 14,60,681 in February 2010 at a cost of Rs 500.14 lakh. The expenditure on textbooks worth Rs 620.50 lakh incurred by SPD, SSA in July 2010 was doubtful, the report added.
The textbooks were procured by the Directorate of Elementary Education in 2009-10, while SPD, SSA procured textbooks for the year 2010-11.
No evidence of distribution of textbooks from SPD, SSA during 2010-11 was noticed in Audit in the sampled districts.
CAG also mentions that despite full payment to M/s Shanti Enterprises, Naharlagun in 2013-14, 12,299, textbooks worth Rs 10.88 lakh were not delivered. No follow-up action either to get delivery of the balance textbooks from the suppliers or to get refund of proportional value of material not supplied was on record.
The department says that it followed the NCERT contract norms in procurement of books through wholesale supplier/dealer enlisted by the NCERT.
SSA Rajya Mission in its response said that there is no short supply of textbooks. The Rajya Mission blamed on the misplacement of the challan, which it said has been categorised in CAG report as short supply. It said that delivery challan and verification report has been obtained from the district and shall be available for verification in the next audit.
CAG report further notes that SPD, SSA in violation of the guidelines did not transfer the approved funds for procurement of school uniforms to the districts, but resorted to centralized procurement during 2010-11. During 2011-12, no fund for uniform was provided by centre though proposed by SPD, SSA in its AWP&B due to non-release of State’s share. Funds for uniforms were released to DPOs from 2012-13 onwards. However, during 2012-13, procurement of uniforms worth Rs 89.14 lakh and Rs 103.21 lakh was done by DPOs in East Siang and West Siang districts respectively, without transferring to School Management Committees. Only from 2013-14, funds were transferred to SMC in East Siang district.
The CAG report further says that supply orders for procurement of school uniforms for boys and girls were given to the M/s Vardhman Garments and M/s Vandana Enterprises, New Delhi with advance money without advertised tender in violation of the guidelines in 2011.
Both the suppliers defaulted on delivery of the uniforms, records reveal. As per Financial Rules of SSA, advance payment to contractors is to be made in respect of construction works only and not for supply of goods and services.
The required infrastructures as prescribed in the RTE Act were also not provided in all the schools.
Reportedly, 232 primary school buildings and 130 upper primary school buildings constructed during 2014-16 were yet to be handed over to school authorities.
The SSA Rajya Mission has blamed the MHRD for delay in handing over of the buildings, who it said was yet to release the full fund.
The problem is not limited to lack of facilities to school children or mismanagement of funds.
At least 52 percent of the teachers do not posses minimum professional qualifications as prescribed by the state government.
The audit findings say that as of March 2016, there was 42 percent shortfall in Science and Mathematics teachers.
The Rajya Mission in its response said that short fall in Science and Mathematics teachers at elementary level has been minimized to some extent with 124 recruitments in 2017-18 under SSA.
Performance audit covered the period of 2010-11 and 2015-16. East and West Siang, Papum Pare and Tawang districts were selected for detailed examination and 30 schools were physically verified. Audit has noticed that state government has not carried out any school mapping as required for establishing new neighbourhood schools since the act came into effect in April 2010. Survey for identification of children between the age group of 6 and 14 in the state was also not carried out as required under the Act.
The report said that school mapping and household survey for identification of children eligible for elementary education has not been carried out since April 2010.