During 2015-19, states’ expenditure on the crucial sector, education, has fallen by 1.3 per cent, and the expenditure on health has only marginally increased by about 0.3 per cent, according to a latest report on state of state finances by PRS Legislative Research.
The report – an analysis of 26 major states’ budgets from 2011-12 to 2018-19 – has revealed that the average underspending by the states has increased from 4 per cent in 2011-12 to 11 per cent in 2016-17. That is, the gap between the predicted budget estimates and the actual expenditure figures has been rising, and budgeted targets have not been met.
Among major sectors, urban development witnessed the highest underspending of 20 per cent between 2011-2017, followed by an underspending of 16 per cent on welfare of SC, ST and OBC communities, 15 per cent on rural development, 14 per cent on irrigation, 12 per cent on housing, 10 per cent on agriculture, 10 per cent on health, 9 per cent on education, and 6 per cent on water supply and sanitation.
Between 2011 and 15, while the states on an average spent 17.3 per cent of their budget on education, this figure decreased by 1.3 per cent to 16 per cent. This includes expenditure on schemes such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the midday meal scheme, construction and maintenance of school buildings, and payment of salaries and pensions.
While the average amount spent on education stood at Rs 6,471 per person per year (age group 6 -23 years) across states, as per Ministry of Human Resource Development. The BJP/NDA-ruled states such as Bihar (Rs 3821), Jharkhand (Rs 4327) and Uttar Pradesh (Rs 3821) registered low per capita expenditure on education.
During 2015-19, states’ average expenditure on health as increased marginally to 4.4 per cent from 4.1 per cent between 2011-15. This includes expenditure on schemes such as the National Health Mission, construction and maintenance of hospitals, and payment of salaries and pensions.
While states on an average spent Rs 785 per person per year on health, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states registered low per capita expenditure with just Rs 381 and Rs 459 respectively. Sikkim has the highest per capita income with Rs 4,480.