Over 70 Indian MPs Write to Govt to Raise Expenditure on Education

The education sector received 3.3% of the allocations (down from 3.5% last year) in the Union Budget 2020.

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Education
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In a bid to make education compulsory for all girls, 72 members of the Parliament have signed a petition to the government, urging the government to increase public expenditure on education.

The campaign, started by 16-year-old Bandana, includes a petition on Change.org asking the government to raise the allotment for the education sector in the Union Budget.

In January 2020, Bandana, a resident of Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, started the campaign with the hashtag #SpendOnEd.

The press release by Change.org, stated that the petition has been signed by over 42,000 people till date and has continued to gather momentum. The letter has been sent to the Union Finance Minister and Union Human Resource Development Minister asking for a revision of the budgetary allocation to school education.

‘No Govt School in My Village’

In her petition, Bandana wrote, "In my village, there is no government school or free education beyond Class 8, so most girls end up as child labourers or child brides and face a life of endless exploitation."

She added, "Once we turn 14 and complete Class 8, our access to education ends."

The education sector received 3.3 percent of the allocations (down from 3.5 percent last year) in the Union Budget 2020. This is not even close to what is needed to give million of out-of-school girls across India an access to education.

Moreover, the 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' has seen a budget cut of Rs 60 crore.

All this comes at a time when the government has committed itself to doubling spending on education in the next ten years in the draft New Education Policy.

Congress MPs Take the Petition Forward

Supporting her petition, Congress MP Rajeev gowda said, "It is high time that we take concrete actions and move towards spending six percent of the GDP towards education. Lack of schools in the neighbourhood cannot continue to be the reason why girls stay out of school."

Another Congress MP from Kishunganj in Bihar, Jawed Mohammad stated, "Education has a transformative potential for all children. Millions of adolescent girls, if given the opportuniy to study, can be empowered with choices that give them a better future filled with opportunities beyodn the four walls of the home.

Mohammad also initiated and led the process of enlisting signatures from colleagues across party lines in the Lok Sabha, while the process was led by the Gowda in the Rajya Sabha.

Talking about Bandana's petition, Nida Hasan, the Country Director of Change,org said that the dact that her campaign has gathered a massive support shows that her story has resonated both among citizens and policymakers.

"Bandana's story is the reality of millions of our children and their future An increase in government spending on education would go a long way in ensuring girls do not have to drop out of school," she said.

(With inputs from Change.org)

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