Nearly 175 pc jump in PM Modi's Pariksha Pe Charcha spend, RTI query reveals

Department of school education and literacy claims 2024 edition not concluded, though Modi met 'exam warriors' on 29 January

PM Modi's first Pariksha Pe Charcha in 2018 cost the government Rs 3.67 crore (photo: PTI)
PM Modi's first Pariksha Pe Charcha in 2018 cost the government Rs 3.67 crore (photo: PTI)

Ashlin Mathew

The total expenditure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “unique initiative” for students, Pariksha Pe Charcha, has risen by close to 175 per cent over the last six years, revealed a response sought under the RTI (Right to Information) Act. The government spent Rs 3.67 crore on the first edition of the programme in 2018, and Rs 10.04 crore in 2023.

According to responses sought under the Act by rights activist Kanhaiya Kumar, the government spend on the programme was Rs 4.93 crore in 2019, Rs 5.69 crore in 2020, Rs 6 crore in 2021, and Rs 8.61 crore in 2022.

Though the expenditure for 2024 was also sought, the department of school education and literacy under the Union ministry of education claimed that the event hadn’t concluded yet, though PM Modi met the 'exam warriors' on 29 January 2024 at the seventh edition of Pariksha Pe Charcha, held at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi's Pragati Maidan.

The sixth edition of the annual interaction was held on 27 January 2023 at Delhi's Talkatora Stadium. At least 38 lakh students had registered for the event, at least 15 lakh more than last year. The first edition of the programme with school and college students was held at the stadium on 16 February 2018. During the pandemic, the fourth edition was held online and telecast on Doordarshan.

Though details of the expenditure for all the years were also sought, EdCil (Educational Consultants India Ltd), the only PSU under the ministry of education, provided a detailed break-up only for 2021 and a partial break-up for 2022.

In 2021, Rs 3.12 crore was spent on event management charges, of which the total cost of producing 36 films was Rs 2.18 crore, Rs 1.9 crore went to production, cost of advertising was Rs 66 lakh, Rs 10.5 lakh was spent on video conferencing, Rs 3.5 lakh for procurement of the book Exam Warriors, and Rs 2.45 lakh for sending bulk SMS-es.

For 2022, when the overall expenditure was Rs 8.61 crore, Rs 14.5 lakh was spent on social media promotion.

Last year, Union minister of state for education Annapurna Devi, in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, had stated that more than Rs 28 crore has been spent on the first five editions of the event.

Questioning the excessive amounts being spent on such events, Kumar said crores of rupees are being spent every year on events like Pariksha Pe Charcha when the future and hard work of the very same students are at stake owing to paper leaks and other irregularities in exams such as NEET.

“When these students really want PM Modi to talk to them regarding exams and paper leak, he keeps complete silence and doesn't even utter a word to console them. Students and youth of this country really want PM Modi to do 'paper leak pe charcha' rather than Pariksha Pe Charcha,” Kumar said.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines

Published: 19 Jun 2024, 7:34 PM