Only 11.25% of funds for promotion of Urdu spent

Low spending comes to light following RTI query on budgetary allocations and expenditure The Telangana State Urdu Academy, which is entrusted with the preservation and promotion of Urdu language by means of 21 initiatives, has spent very little of its budgetary allocation. In the financial year 2019-20, of a total sanctioned budgetary allocation of ₹8 crore, it has spent a meagre ₹90 lakh. The low spending came to light after Right to Information activist Kareem Ansari from sought information on budgetary allocations, and expenditure by the TSUA. RTI response According to the RTI response, ₹5 crore was allocated for ‘assistance of the TSUA for the preservation and promotion of the language’. Another, ₹3 crore was sanctioned to construct Urdu Ghars. While ₹50 lakh was spent for the language’s preservation and promotion, ₹40 lakh was shown as expenditure for construction of Urdu Ghars. Speaking to The Hindu, Mr Ansari pointed out that Urdu is the State’s second official language and it deserves better treatment. He also said that a chunk of the Academy’s work – computer centres where vocational training is imparted – has been delegated to the Telangana State Finance Corporation. This, he opined, should enable the Academy to do focussed work. “As the State’s second official language, Urdu deserves to be treated better. The government claims it is committed to protect and preserve Urdu, and yet its own agency is spending little of the budgetary allocation. The least that can be done is to make full use of the sanctioned amount,” Mr Ansari said. He pointed out that in the previous years, the allocation and expenditure under the head ‘Assistance to TSUA for Preserving/Promotion of Urdu Language’ was better. He said that in FY 2014-15, the sanctioned budget and expenditure both stood at ₹5.45 crore. The next fiscal, it was ₹6 crore. And, in FY 2016-17, it was ₹10.75 crore. ‘What’s the excuse?’ “As you can see, these are figures which were provided last month. When so much money was spent in the past, there is no reason that the State government cannot do it again,” he said. Meanwhile, Syed Iftekhar Hussaini, another activist, said that after the departure of Prof S.A. Shukoor over a year ago, the government is yet to appoint a director. He also said that Academy has a 13-member board and that some of these posts are vacant.