Why in News?
According to a report by Child Rights and You (CRY) and the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), Even though State governments have increased their budgets for school education in the past three years, but the allotment of funds has not been enough to attract permanent qualified teaching staff to government schools.
The report, examines budgeting for school education in six States — West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra — during the 14th Finance Commission recommendation period, which started in April 2015.
· The study finds that there has been an overall increase in revenue with the States following the 14th Finance Commission recommendations. This was a result of an increase in the share of the States in the divisible pool of Central taxes from 32% to 42%.
· At the same time, a reduction in the Union government’s contribution to the States for Central schemes in social sectors forced the States to improve their tax revenue collection.
· The study analyses whether the availability of additional funds translated into prioritising of school education in these six States.
Between 2015-16 and 2017-18, there was a net decline in the share of school education budget in the total State Budget for three of the six States, according to the detailed demand for Grants and State Budget documents.
· Bihar saw a dip of 3.1%, Maharashtra a drop of 1% and West Bengal 0.9%.
· On the other hand, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh saw an increase in the size of school education budget by 0.4%, 2.6% and 3.2%, respectively.
The report examines whether the increase in the size of school education budget was more than the rise in size of the total budget, indicating a higher priority for the sector.
· It concluded that between 2014-15 and 2017-18, Uttar Pradesh saw a 98.8% increase in budget for schools, whereas its total budget increased by 63.3%.
· West Bengal’s budget for school education increased by 49.4% while its total budget increased by 48.2% and in Tamil Nadu, the former increased by 38.7% but the total budget increased by 38.5%, indicating that school education was a priority for these three States.
At the same time, all the six States showed an increase in the magnitude of per-child and per-student spending for education between 2014-15 and 2016-17.
· Despite a varying level of commitment towards school education across the six States, all of them struggle with a shortage of teachers.
· Data from the District Information System for Education show that at the upper primary level, there is a severe paucity of subject-specific teachers required under the Right to Education Act — 77% upper primary schools in Maharashtra, 46% in Uttar Pradesh, 40% in West Bengal and 37% in Bihar do not have subject teachers.
· More than one lakh schools in India are run with only one teacher and all the six States surveyed have shown the number of such schools on the rise.
· The shortage of teachers is more acute at the secondary level — Bihar has 20,494 teaching posts vacant, Chhattisgarh 8,278 and Uttar Pradesh 12,008.
Key words: School Education, Teacher vacancies, Pupil-Teacher Ratio
Why in News
Prime Minister announced renaming of three islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago as a tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
· It was on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the hoisting of the Tricolour by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
· Govt release a commemorative stamp and Rs 75 coin.
· The Ross Island was renamed Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, the Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.
· On Dec 30,1943, Bose had suggested that Andaman and Nicobar Islands be renamed Shahid and Swaraj Dweep.
Key words: Ajad Hind Fauz, Netaji, Andaman and Nicobar Island, Netaji Island
Mrinal Sen, one of the towering figures of Indian cinema, passed away.He was 95.
· The last of the triumvirate of legendary filmmakers that included Satyajit Ray and Ritwick Ghatak, Sen received various national and international awards, including the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2003.
Sen was heavily influenced by parallel cinema and introduced a new kind of film-making with his unusual camera movement, non-linear narrative, discontinuities and freeze frames — something Indian cinema had never seen before.
· In his career spanning across seven decades, Mrinal Sen created 34 works to his credit, which included 27 feature films, four short films and five documentaries.
· His first film was Raat Bhore (in 1956) and last was Aamar Bhuvan (in 2002).
Madhuja Mukherjee, Head of the Department of Film Studies at Jadavpur University, said that Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome ushered in a new wave of film-making in India.
· Bhuvan Shome introduced new set of possibilities in terms of narrative, characterisation, shot-taking, editing, and sound.
Key words: Mrinal sen, Parallel Cinema, Indian Cinema
Telangana continued to register impressive growth in the collection of Goods and Services Tax , attaining over 20 per cent growth till the end of November.
· Barring July when the collections were down by over Rs 250 crore, the State’s GST collection was consistently above the previous year’s collection month-wise.
· The State has registered Rs 16,566 crore GST collection between April and November this year.
· This is against the total tax collection of Rs 13,950 crore including the collection during the pre-GST regime between April and July last fiscal.
This is in addition to the tax collected in the form of value added tax on liquor and petroleum products taking the total to more than Rs 30,000 crore till November.
· The State had received pat from the Union Finance Ministry for being one of the top performing States in the country ever since the introduction of the GST regime.
· Incidentally, Telangana does not get any GST compensation from the Centre as the State’s revenue growth has been on the rise consistently.
· The State’s revenue gap had come down to 2.4 per cent from 27.8 per cent at the introduction of the GST regime which was far ahead of other States.
Key words: GST, Indirect Tax, Tax Revenue, Telangana
AP Economic Development Board
Why in news?
The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) won the Gold Award for the best organisation in the country for investment promotion and project facilitation.
The award was announced at the 55th Skoch Summit held in Delhi.
The awards are given in recognition of best practices in the field of governance, finance, banking, corporate citizenship, economics and inclusive growth.
About the APEDB
Formed in 2016, the State Economic Development Board has been drawing lessons from other successful economic development institutions from countries like Singapore, Bahrain and Rwanda to promote economic growth in the State through sustained accelerated investment eco-system, policy initiatives and other effective measures.
Keywords: Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB), Skoch summit, gold award.