Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)

There are three types of grants provided by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) program to all the government schools in India, and they arrive in schools with very clear expenditure guidelines. School grants in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which is the Government of India’s (GOI) primary vehicle for implementing the Right to Education Act, is thus the most crucial government program for the overall provision of elementary education in the country today.

The three School Grants comprise of:

  1. School Maintenance grant (SMG) – infrastructure upkeep
  2. School Development grant or School grant (SDG) – operation and administration
  3. Teaching-Learning Material (TLM) grant – for extra instructional aids for teaching


A national school-level survey conducted through the Annual Survey of Education (ASER) – Rural, gives a holistic picture of the financial status of the government schools in India.

The macro picture

  • Since the inception of RTE in 2009, India’s elementary education allocations have hiked by 23% from Rs. 119771 crores in 2010-11 to Rs. 147059 crores in 2012-13.5
  • Also, Per student allocations have also increased from Rs. 9367 to Rs. 11509.                                                                                                   ‘Rs. 11509 is allocated to each student who is studying in a government school.’- Big question?? Does the student even get 10% from this?

The Total BUDGET varies across states

  • Nagaland and Haryana have had the largest increase in allocations: 82% and 43% between 2010-11 and 2012-13. On the other hand, allocations have dropped by 38% and 11% in Sikkim and Jharkhand, respectively.

Again, why should it vary from one state to another when there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between performance on different education.

  • Per student allocations varies across states
  • Bihar allocates only Rs. 5516 per student, while states like Kerala and Goa allocate Rs. 37667 and Rs. 45867 respectively. And we talk about universalization of education!!!

The three main school grants varies across states.

  • Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh allocated the highest share of their SSA budget to teachers – 76% and 73%. Whereas, Andhra Pradesh, prioritized infrastructure over teachers with 32% allocated to teachers and 44% for the infrastructure.
  • A school can demand infrastructure funds, but it has no decision-making power over the timing of receipt of these funds and de-facto funds have to be spent based on priorities set by the state and district administration.

While this centralized varied delivery system might be appropriate for some delivering inputs, but is it really making any impactful changes in the government schools in rural areas??

The Micro Story

School: There has been some improvement in the percentage of schools receiving grants but, there are again variations in grant receipts across the states. While schools do receive money, they are not entitled for all the three mandatory school grants.

  • Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka are amongst the best performers on this indicator. In 2011- 12, over 84% schools in these states received all three grants.
  • Meghalaya and Rajasthan are poor performers. In 2011-12, only 26% of schools received all three grants in Meghalaya.

Schools receiving all three grants: Overall, there has been a marginal increase in the percentage of schools receiving all 3 grants by November 2012.

  • In 2011, 41% schools had reported receiving all 3 grants by November; this increased to 43% in 2012.
  • However, more than 30% schools did not receive a single grant by October-November 2012. This trend is worrying as the number has increased from 26% in 2010-11 to 32% in 2012-13.

Spending: Once money arrives, schools do spend it. Between April 2011 and November 2012,

  • 90% schools report spending their money
  • 67% schools white-washed their walls
  • 70% used some of their money to fund school events
  • 90% schools purchased chalks/dusters and registers.
  • 36% schools reported repairing toilets
  • 44% reported repairing drinking water facilities.

One broad conclusion that can be drawn from these results is that school funds are simply not enough for the range of work that schools are meant to undertake. The money schools get seems to get absorbed in just purchasing essential supplies, leaving little for other activities. Therefore, the planning at the school level is weak and that expenditures don’t always connect with school needs.  The overall impact of this funding and spending pattern, the PAISA Report asserts, is that only 15 per cent of the government schools in the country are in compliance with all the seven physical infrastructure norms identified by the RTE.

Money is always funny in the POOR man’s world!!

Source :

Through her work, Arunima has discovered the stark reality of the state of education system in government schools in rural areas. Her field work, survey, research and study about the education system has made her more inclined and motivated to work towards this cause.

Previously, Arunima designed and drafted a 'Training of Trainers' (ToT) Manual for a rural School Management Committee, in which she compiled different learning materials for the role of community and trainer's in ensuring access to quality education. Her future plans are to study further and research on the primary education system in India, so that she can contribute to provide a platform for those millions of children who are not going to school. Her interest is towards creativity, designing activities, reading, research and documentation.

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