Pune: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has not transferred a single penny to students’ accounts for purchasing uniforms and other study materials, a week after the PMC-run schools reopened post the summer vacation. However, the school board claims that they had distributed money to all primary school students.
A parent of a Std III student from the PMC Marathi medium school in Pimple Nilakh, said, “I work as a domestic help. My son hasn’t got the money to purchase the uniform and other items such as raincoat, notebooks, shoes as we don’t have a bank account. When I asked his teacher about the money, he told me that we will have to open a bank account first. When I went to the bank to open an account, they demanded our Aadhaar cards, which we don’t have. Now, I don’t know when I will get the money.” She added, “We don’t have money to purchase the uniform and other items. Now, my son is using an old uniform.”
Another parent, also a housemaid from Wadgaon Sheri area, whose three sons are studying in a PMC-run school, said, “We haven’t got the money, though we have a bank account. Teachers said we will get it in a week. We don’t have enough money to purchase uniforms and other items for my three children. We should get money in time.”
Parents of students from PMC’s Hutatma Balveer Shirishkumar School in Shivajinagar said they expect the amount to be credited to their bank accounts. Akshita Pandit, whose son Akshay is studying in Std X, said, “When we asked the school authorities for the money, they said as soon as they get a notice about it, they will inform students. Until then, children will have to wear old uniforms.”
Vandana Bhalerao, whose son Suhas is studying in Std VIII, said, “We are supposed to receive Rs 134 for a a pair of shirt and trouser. The school authorities informed us that as there are 324 schools, the process of depositing the money will take time. However, they have no clue how much time it would take. We can just hope to get the amount as soon as possible.”
Commenting on the delay, Deputy Mayor Dr Siddharth Dhende said, “It is an impractical approach of the PMC. How can slum dwellers have bank accounts, if they earn daily wages? In the name of transparency, the civic body is denying these students their right. It should find a way out to provide money to students in time. Otherwise, the students will not get school items for this academic year.”
Last month, the PMC Standing Committee decided to transfer money in the accounts of students to enable them to buy two sets of uniform, PT dress and sweater, shoes and socks, school bag, notebooks, drawing books, stationery, slates and a raincoat. Funds raning from Rs 2,100 to Rs 4,900 will be transferred depending on the class of a student for the new academic year.
The PMC distributes educational material to students studying in its schools every year. Last year, the State government decided to transfer money to students’ accounts under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme to prevent corruption and substandard quality of the material.
When contacted, PMC Chief Accounts Officer Ulka Kalaskar said, “We haven’t received details of the students such as bank account details and the amount required for purchasing educational items. So, we have not transferred the money into the students’ accounts.”
On the contrary, PMC Education Officer Deepak Mali said, “We have transferred the money to the accounts of the primary school students while the remaining students will get it soon.”
Under the DBT scheme, the PMC decided to transfer money to students’ account. However, only around 60,000 of total 1.17 lakh students have bank accounts.
There are 287 primary and 40 secondary schools run by the PMC in the city. About one lakh students are enrolled in primary schools, while 13,000 students are registered in secondary schools. Over 4,600 students are listed in schools located in recently merged villages. Collectively, more than 1.17 lakh students are studying in PMC-run schools in the city.