Special Correspondent

Expenditure as percentage of GDP lower than what it was during NDA rule

  • Survey data runs contrary to Ministry claims
  • 6 p.c. of GDP on education mooted by National Policy on Education

    NEW DELHI: The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government has failed to keep its pledge to raise public spending in education to at least six per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in a phased manner. According to the Economic Survey 2006-07 tabled in Parliament on Tuesday expenditure on education as a percentage of the GDP is lower than what it was during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule.

    Despite the pledge taken by the UPA in its National Common Minimum Programme, the expenditure on education in its first year (2004-05) was lower than the previous fiscal from 2.79 per cent of the GDP in 2003-04 it was 2.74 per cent in 2004-05.

    As per revised estimates the expenditure rose to 2.88 per cent of the GDP in 2004-05 but the budget estimate for the current fiscal has pegged it at 2.87 per cent. While Human Resource Development officials insist that there would be an upward movement in the expenditure on education in the current fiscal, it is likely to remain short of what the NDA spent in this sector in 2001-02 and 2002-03. While expenditure on education was 2.98 per cent of the GDP in 2001-02, it dropped by 0.02 per cent the following year.

    All that the UPA can claim is that it has raised spending on education since it came to power as expenditure in this sector had begun falling even during the NDA regime. However, the UPA's failure to keep its commitment comes in the face of a two per cent dedicated cess for education that has been in place from the very start of this Government.

    The data given in the survey runs contrary to the claims made by the Ministry in Parliament on Monday. Replying to a question on whether the Government was spending six per cent of the GDP on education, the Ministry said: ``The percentage of GDP spent on education during 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 was 3.5 per cent, 3.68 per cent and 3.72 per cent respectively.''

    Spending six per cent of the GDP on education was first mooted in the National Policy on Education in 1986 but it has remained an elusive goal with spending in this sector hovering around the halfway mark of three per cent.