Former IAS officer Akunuri Murali has urged Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to allocate 20% of the budget for education, given its prominence in pushing human resources abilities to a greater strength, which ultimately would empower people and strengthen the State’s economy.
“Budgetary allocations for Education and Health must be given priority and the remaining sectors have to be taken care of after these sectors,” he said. He was speaking on behalf of the Social Democratic Forum, consisting of retired IAS officers, educationists and those working in the education sector.
Mr. Murali said that the CM had ignored the education sector all these years and it had a trickle down effect with none in districts monitoring it, thus, affecting the entire sector. He urged KCR to review the education department on a regular basis.
He added that Telangana is way behind on several parameters compared to other states or national figures. On the education front, it is at the 10th place, 17th on food security, 19th on health indicator and 23rd on women empowerment. Even the perceived backward states are ahead of us, he said.
The former Collector of Bhupalapalli district said that in the first year of Telangana formation (2014-15), allocation to education sector was 10.89% of the budget and in 2021-22, it was reduced to 5.89%. “Though budget amount has increased, the percentage of allocation has drastically reduced and this would have a huge impact.”
Co-convenor R. Venkata Reddy said that education budget allocation was 18% in the Telugu Desam government and got reduced to 12% during the Congress regime but now, it is cut by nearly 50%. “The worst affected are girl students due to this neglect,” he said.
Mr. Murali said that the dropout rate was 36% and 33% for boys and girls respectively, as they reach 10th class. The figures were more for SC and ST students. Dropouts were more in backward and tribal dominated districts with figures reaching 66%.
Other members who spoke alleged that there was a conscious effort to deny education to the downtrodden sections, with the government promoting private sector both in school and the university level. Rama, Jhansi Geddam, Surepally Sujata, and Laxminarayana, among others, spoke on this issue.