Pune | RTE payments hit yet another hurdle

Pune: Govt now says schools need specific bank account to receive reimbursements.

Delayed reimbursements for fees of students admitted under the Right To Education (RTE) Act has been a major issue since the implementation of the Act four years ago. While until now, government has changed its explanation several times — from the central government’s delay in releasing the grant to confusion over the share of the Centre and the state. Now, the latest excuse is that schools have not opened specific bank accounts to receive the said reimbursement. This comes after three months of reassuring schools that they need not worry about the reimbursements. Shocked by the development, schools are now complaining of that they did not even know of any such condition.

According to the RTE Act, 25 per cent seats in all private schools are reserved for children from socio-economically backward classes. The government is then expected to reimburse the schools for students’ fees. For the past four years, there has been no reimbursement. Three months ago, the state government said the money had arrived and would soon be distributed. However, there is now evidently yet another reason for delay. Dinkar Temkar, deputy director of education, who is looking after school admissions under the RTE Act, said, “The reimbursements have been approved, but not yet forwarded to schools because they have to open a specific bank account for it.”

Rajendra Singh, Pune president of the Maharashtra English School Trustees Association (MESTA), said, “This is just another excuse for the government to delay the reimbursements. The government had said in May that the money has arrived and would be distributed to schools in 20 days. Two months have passed, but no school has received the reimbursements. Let alone informing schools that a specific bank account is required, there is no awareness even about what system will be followed by the government to carry out the distribution. There is no information about the specific bank account. In any case, if that is the procedure, officials need to make a simple declaration instead of making excuses.”

“It is becoming difficult for schools to continue their day-to-day functioning due to delay in reimbursements. Why would schools delay opening a bank account which would only help them survive? The government is just coming up with different excuses,” said the principal of a reputed city school, requesting anonymity.

“According to the Act, the government is expected to reimburse for fees as per schools’ expenditure on each student studying in zilla parishad- run schools or fees of the respective school which will be reimbursed, whichever is less. But for the past four years, there were only admissions and no reimbursement from the government,” shared another principal.

Source: Pune Mirror

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