Dear education minister, implement previous budget promises first

Despite more allocation, school, higher and technical and medical education depts failed to materialise most proposals made in the previous budget

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Dear education minister, implement previous budget promises first

Despite being one of the most popular ministers in the Devendra Fadnavis government, state education minister Vinod Tawde, it seems, has not been able to deliver as expected.

He kicked up a few controversies, ranging from the mother tongue issue to his own educational qualifications, sought to streamline the chaotic school education system, and took a few crucial decisions related to admission in engineering courses and private medical and other professional colleges. He also made efforts to place the new Maharashtra Universities Bill in the assembly in quick time.

However, at the end of the fiscal, his performance will be judged on the basis of promises made a year ago. And his report card doesn't reflect the flying colours. Most proposals are still on paper.

Incidentally, these promises were related to upgrading the infrastructure in schools, hostels, medical colleges and for improvement in quality of education, two most crucial strategies which have the potential to change the face of the public education system.

Ironically, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had increased the allocation for education in his first full-fledged budget.

"Educational institutions are rotting in Maharashtra. We need to work on a war footing to see results in the next three to four years. The minister seems to have long-term vision and also the political will to revive the sector. But lethargic bureaucracy and lack of short-term and mid-term vision is hampering the implementation of the proposed plans," said a highly placed official.

According to sources, more than 50% of the budget has remained unspent. Before making any new proposals in the upcoming budget, the government must ensure that old proposals are implemented with vigour, believe experts.

Students also want the government to shift its focus to the most basic facilities first before going for MoUs with foreign universities and industries.

President of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors Dr Sagar Mundada said, "Barring a few, most medical colleges in the state have pathetic hostel facilities and canteens. We have been demanding health insurance policy of Rs30 lakh for all medical students as many of us get trapped in life-threatening diseases while working in unhygienic conditions. We are ready to pay half the premium. But nothing has materialised."

"An overhaul in examination houses for timely results, placement centres, adequate hostels and good teachers are among the major demands of students studying in public universities for decades now. We don't know when the government will focus on these things," says a Mumbai university student.

Tawde who is otherwise quite vocal, avoided questions.

Edu sector announcements in 2015-16 budget speech and their status

Though the new sports policy was announced in 2012, it was not implemented to the extent it should have been. The state government will now effectively implement this policy. Keeping in view the importance of physical exercise, public gyms will be established for sportspeople and youths in a phased manner at district sport complexes or municipal gardens. For this, funds will be made available. In 2015-16, an outlay of Rs50 crore is proposed for construction of sports complexes at taluka and district levels.
Status: Nothing big was done to revive school sports. The government is yet to identify the places to install the public gyms.

In order to reduce the dropout rate of girls in secondary schools, the government has a scheme of construction of hostels for girls. For this, an outlay of Rs112.52 crore is proposed for the year 2015-16, which in comparison is twice the outlay made available last year.
Status: No new hostel reached the construction stage.

It is planned to construct protection walls for all government girls' hostels in a phased manner within three years. An outlay of Rs25 crore is earmarked.
Status: On paper. The department thinks it still has two more years to complete the work.

Although every year more than Rs30,000 crore is spent on elementary education, the quality of education is a matter of concern. The government is committed to providing value-based quality education.
Status: No proposal to improve the quality. Value-based education is also on paper, barring planning of a "pilot project".

Government will take all care to ensure that no child is deprived of education. An outlay of Rs1,690.56 crore is proposed for this programme.
Status: Government's own survey of November 2015 showed that 81,000 kids are still out of school. However, a national survey put this figure at 1.45 lakh. Most schools don't get stationery and uniform on time.

It is proposed to modernise JJ School of Art in Mumbai and other art colleges to improve the quality of art education. Rs10 crore has been earmarked out of the undistributed outlay under the planning department. It is also proposed to set up a school of planning and architecture of international standards at Aurangabad.
Status: Restoration of JJ school of Art has started. Professors' bungalows are also being renovated.

It is proposed to establish a National Institute of Pharmacy Education and Research (NIPER) in Nagpur with the objective of developing professionally qualified and skilled manpower and improve research in this field through use of advanced technology, passing on the benefits to the common people.
Status: No chance to start the NIPER even in the new academic year. Only land has been identified.

It is proposed to provide assistance to candidates for training for the Civil Services (Main) examination and interview in order to improve the success ratio of candidates of Maharashtra. Further, study rooms with reference books will be provided at district headquarters. The Pre IAS Training Centre in Kolhapur and Nagpur will be strengthened. Rs20 crore is earmarked from the outlay.
Status: Only government knows

The upgrade of postgraduation medical course programme has been undertaken at the government medical colleges of Pune, Aurangabad, Akola, Ambejogai, Solapur, Miraj, Sangli, Dhule, Yavatmal, Latur and Nagpur. The upgrade is being done by providing the medical colleges with additional facilities. Rs20 crore is proposed in 2015-16 for this purpose.
Status: Paperwork has started.

An outlay of Rs35 crore is proposed for construction and other primary facilities in newly established medical colleges in Nandurbar, Mumbai, Alibaug, Satara, Gondia, Baramati and Chandrapur. An additional outlay of Rs100 crore is earmarked. A comprehensive master plan has been prepared for developing the government medical college in Nagpur and steps are being taken for its implementation.
Status: Paperwork is on.

A proposal of a high-rise super-specialty hospital building on the premises of JJ hospital in Mumbai has been approved. Although this project was pending for a long time, waiting for the approval from the high-rise committee, it has now been accorded by amending the law appropriately. An additional 1,000 beds will be made available through this project.
Status: The long pending project still remains on paper.

Allocation for education, sports, arts and culture
2013: Rs38,237.8 crore
2014-15: Rs41,279.7 crore
2015-16: Rs45,490 crore (18.72%)

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