How Can the Government Reduce the Cost of Printing Free Textbooks?

Millions of free textbooks are distributed by the Government of Maharashtra which cost ₹ 900 crore per year. How can this be reduced?

The government of Maharashtra distributes new textbooks to millions of students every year; While the students sell their old textbooks which were given by government last year. The state government is spending a huge amount of Rs 900 crores on printing of new books every year. But if these books are reused, then the government can save billions of rupees on printing. It will also help the government to print adequate textbooks on time. Children have to wait for the government to print and distribute textbooks and they often face shortages.


Nearly 2.25 crore students are studying in schools run by the government, private management, social groups or tribal welfare departments, which come under the control of Maharashtra State School Education Department. Under ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ , every year textbooks are distributed to students from first to eighth grade. However, since schools don’t take back these books, the students sell it to raddi wala and they often end up at private bookstore owners. People are prohibited to resell the books which have a stamp of ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ on them. However, there is no concrete plan which the government uses to stop this illegal selling of books.

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As per the rules of ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’, the school can’t take back the books given to students. On one hand, their books are in the raddi and in the other, they have a new textbook.  Textbooks published by Bal Bharati can easily be reused for two to three years. Why aren’t they being used then? We must rethink such processes.


By doing so every year, the government can save crores of rupees otherwise spent on printing new textbooks and spend it on other essential services such as infrastructure and roads.

The government textbook production keeps coming up in discussions year after year. Either the books aren’t ready on time, or there are printing mistakes.  In such a situation, the government must reduce these steps and the cost of printing books by simply reusing the existing ones.

Author – Suchita Deshpande

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