Among the big States in the country, Chhattisgarh and Bihar allocated the most proportion of their budget towards education in FY23. While Chhattisgarh allocated 18.82 per cent of the State’s estimated net budget expenditure to education, Bihar allocated 18.3 per cent.

The States that have spent a higher portion of their budget expenditure on education are Delhi, Assam, and Himachal Pradesh, which allocated 22 per cent, 20 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively, of their budgets on education this fiscal year. 

While Chhattisgarh and Bihar are spending more on education, they do not fare too well on literacy. The literacy rate in Chattisgarh is 77.9 per cent, while the rate for Bihar is 70.9 per cent, one of the lowest in the country, according to the National Sample Survey 2018. 

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“States like Bihar and Chhattisgarh have an increase in demand to construct more schools for the proportion of children coming to schools every year,” said data scientist and author Nilakantan RS. “This is unlike the case of Kerala or Tamil Nadu, where the population has stabilised and the number of children coming to schools each year is decreasing. So they do not need more schools,” he said.

At 96.2 per cent, Kerala has the highest literacy rate in the country, while it is 82.9 per cent in Tamil Nadu.

The national average of the allocation to education in the net budget expenditure in FY23 was 15.4 per cent. However, quite a lot of States have allocated far lesser than this proportion. Most prominent among these is Telangana, where just 6.54 per cent of the net budget expenditure is granted for education in FY23.

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Even in terms of absolute numbers, Telangana’s expenditure towards education was a mere ₹16,043 crore in FY23. As per the Budget for FY24, even though the state has allocated ₹19,093 crore for education, it is just 6.57 per cent of the net budget expenditure. Telangana is among the few states that have presented the budget for the upcoming financial year.

“This is a particularly low allocation, which is not right. States are mandated to spend a decent amount of money on school education. The pupil-teacher ratio in most States is low, which means they have to recruit more teachers and build more schools,” says Ramanand Nand, Director, Centre for Policy Research and Governance. “They are not giving enough importance to school education,” added Nand. 

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The other States that have allocated a comparatively smaller proportion of their net expenditure to education include Andhra Pradesh (12.7 per cent), Karnataka (12.73 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (12.89 per cent), and Punjab (13.05 per cent).

Nand too thinks that a lot of these States have the required infrastructure for education and may not have had to spend so much on education. 

The States that have allocated the most money to the education sector in FY23 are Maharashtra (₹80,437 crore), Uttar Pradesh (₹75,165 crore), Rajasthan (₹49,627 crore), Tamil Nadu (₹43,799 crore), and West Bengal (₹43,466 crore).