Improving Education in West Bengal through Medium-Term Expenditure Framework

Video | 16 October 2020

Since 2012, ADB has been in collaboration with the Government of West Bengal for increasing the total efficiency in public expenditure and ensuring that these expenditures are directly linked to the desired outcomes and achieve better service delivery. ADB’s Second West Bengal Development Finance Program introduced the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) in the School Education Department of West Bengal. MTEF is a transparent planning and budget formation process which allocates public resources according to their strategic priorities and desired outcomes while ensuring overall fiscal discipline. Budget was allocated to upgrade 500 elementary and secondary schools with better infrastructure in terms of classrooms, laboratories, and libraries; and to ensure the availability of a toilet for every 100 females. The government also plans to provide access to drinking water facilities, electricity, and kitchen sheds in all government schools by 2022–2023. ADB plans to further support the adoption of MTEFs by other state government departments as part of its proposed West Bengal Public Finance Management Reforms Program.

Transcript

Education is the bedrock of progress, livelihood and a better society. The School Education Department of West Bengal has made significant strides to provide quality and affordable education across rural and urban areas of the state. This has led to West Bengal’s literacy rate surpassing the all-India average.

  • School uniforms and textbooks provided free of cost.
  • Medium of instruction in 8 languages.
  • Midday Meal provided by 100% of the schools

ADB supported the introduction of Medium-term Expenditure Framework in the School Education Department.
Facilities provided in government schools of West Bengal:

  • 98.22% Drinking Water
  • 96.30% Electricity Connection
  • 76.81% Kitchen Sheds
  • 46% Boundary Walls
  • 57.9% Ramps

Soundbites:
Hari Krishna Dwivedi, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Finance, Government of West Bengal
ADB has been in collaboration with the government of West Bengal since 2012. In fact, it was one of the first ever initiative as far as public finance management is concerned. The basic objective was to increase total efficiency in
public expenditure and to see that public expenditure is directly linked to the outcomes and achieves better service delivery. One of the key instruments, among many, was development of medium-term expenditure framework.

Manish Jain, Principal Secretary, Department of School Education, Government of West Bengal
For the last 8 years, the planned fund support to the sector has gone up by almost nine times and we have been able to retain students until the elementary level. The challenges which we are facing now is providing adequate infrastructure at the secondary and higher secondary level in terms of classrooms, in terms of laboratories, libraries, toilets and all, and that is where all our fund support is channelized.

Parwez Ahmad Siddiqui, Secretary, Department of Finance, Government of West Bengal
Medium-term expenditure framework is a transparent planning and budget formulation process. Public resources can be allotted to their strategic priorities while ensuring overall fiscal discipline. The efficiency and effectiveness in budget management is significantly enhanced under this process.

Manish Jain, Principal Secretary, Department of School Education, Government of West Bengal
We are trying to bring all data in a single portal so that data analysis can also be done effectively. So for the last 1–1 1/2 years, we have had a very robust e-portal called Bangla Shikha which is connected with each and every school—about 65,000 schools in the state. From the next academic session, it is going to be online. Until now we have already uploaded each and every data of each and every student on this portal. Now the academic part, as well as the infrastructure part, and the benefit given to the students can be tracked and monitored on a real-time basis.

Dr. Sudip Kumar Sinha, Additional Secretary, Finance Department, Government of West Bengal
This partnership with Asian Development Bank has been successful because it is the first time we are implementing MTEF in our budget. We are looking forward to more such partnerships in the near future also so that the same benefits can be achieved from extending the same framework to other social sector expenditures program in other major line departments also.