For universal quality ECE services to all children in this age group, the study projected a total budget allocation in the range of 1.5% to 2.2% of the GDP. In 2020-21, the total budgetary provision for ECE in India, including the Centre and States, was around Rs 25,000 crore, which is about 0.1% of the GDP.
The study projected an average cost per child, per year in the range of Rs 32,531 (termed as feasible cost) to Rs 56,327 (termed as optimal cost). “The actual cost (within this range) will depend on the type of model adopted for implementation. The key programmatic administrative and management cost (monitoring and supervision, quality enhancement and cost for institution building) for universal ECE services per year amounts to Rs 367 crore,” states the report.
The new National Education Policy (NE) has recommended the inclusion of children aged three to six within the structure of the school system and the universalisation of pre-primary education by 2030. The policy highlights ECE as one of the ‘key long-term thrust areas for financing’.
Universalisation of ECE is important as brain development in children between 0-6 years is most rapid.