The two planks of education policy of Arjun Singh and the UPA government seem to be: Fan the flames of the conflict on quotas, and put more money into Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA). In today's Indian Express, Ila Patnaik has an article questioning the consensus about SSA. I have written about education and SSA a few times : one two and three.
Ila argues that the consensus behind SSA rests on higher enrollment rates and growing literacy rates. But standardised tests show that kids seem to come into school for a meal and don't learn much. She asks why giant expenditures on SSA did not plan an evaluation by an independent agency which would conduct randomised tests. She also links up to a fascinating Centre for Civil Society working paper which compares private "unaided" schools, private "unaided" schools and public schools. Update: Ila has another article on entry barriers faced in starting a school.