Education gets a lion’s share, but provision missing for job creation
In the education sector, the government has announced to recruit 48,762 primary teachers, 5,886 physical education trainers, 40,506 head teachers, 44,193 teachers in secondary schools, 89,734 teachers in higher secondary schools and 7,360 computer teachers.
The focus of the Bihar Budget 2023-24 once again revolves around the Nitish Kumar government’s “7 Resolves”, Jeevika and Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali programme, which involve several departments, though the lion’s share of the estimated expenditure once again expectedly goes to education.
The combined budget estimates for education, sports, art & culture for fiscal 2023-24 is pegged at ₹42,381.08 crore, which is 16.18% of the total outlay, but less than the revised estimate for 2022-23, which was ₹55,110.76 crore (19.30%).
In the education sector, the government has announced to recruit 48,762 primary teachers, 5,886 physical education trainers, 40,506 head teachers, 44,193 teachers in secondary schools, 89,734 teachers in higher secondary schools and 7,360 computer teachers. The government will also fill the position of over 6,000 head masters in upgraded higher secondary schools.
In engineering colleges and polytechnics, the government has plans to appoint 3,021 teachers, of which 522 have been appointed, while 217 new positions have been created for running new courses.
Similarly, the budget estimate for health and family welfare sector is ₹16,703.83 crore (6.38%), which is less than the revised estimate of ₹20182.75 crore (7.07%) for 2022-23 fiscal.
In the health sector, the government is also going ahead with the regular appointment of 10,550 auxiliary nurses and midwife (ANM). The budget has also made provision of ₹800 crore for self-employment incentives under entrepreneurship schemes for SC/ST, women, EBC and youth. Under it, the beneficiaries get ₹5 lakh subsidy and an additional ₹5 lakh loan.
However, while the emphasis of the government has been on job creation in the year that will take it to 2024 parliamentary elections, there has been just 17.7% increase under the establishment and expenditure head. Experts say that in normal cases also, 10% hike is attributed to regular salary increments, dearness hike and inflationary impact and the government may have to allocate more resources for large-scale appointments.
Economist Prof NK Choudhary said there was nothing new in the budget compared to previous years and it lacked boldness and vision. “The size of the budget has increased by around 10 per cent while inflation is over six per cent. In real terms, it is no increase. Priorities of expenditure also don’t seem to change to generate hope. New appointments of over two lakh have been announced, but there is neither any timeline nor any commensurate budgetary provision. To sum it up, it lacks clarity and old ways have continued,” he said.
The government has announced a large number of recruitments in different sectors in keeping with its promise to create jobs. This includes 63,900 jobs through the Bihar Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission and technical service commission, besides creation of 75,453 posts in police for direct recruitment.