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Centre raises outlay for education sector by 13 percent

July 6, 2019

The Centre earmarked Rs 94,853.64 crore outlay for the education sector for the fiscal 2019-20 in the Budget announced on July 5, an increase of over 13 percent from the revised estimates of 2018-19 financial year.

In the last budget, the then finance minister Arun Jaitley had allocated Rs 85,010 crore for the education sector which was later revised to Rs 83,625.86 crore.

While a sum of Rs 38,317.01 crore has been set aside for higher education, Rs 56,536.63 crore has been earmarked for school education.

The government has made available Rs 30,000 crore using the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) funding mechanism, the HRD ministry said.

The outlay for the University Grants Commission saw a decline as compared to 2018-19. A total amount of Rs 4,600.66 crore has been allocated for the UGC, as against the revised estimate of Rs 4,687.23 crore in 2018-19. The initial outlay was Rs 4,722.75 crore.

The budget outlay for Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is Rs 6,409.95 crore, while it is Rs 445.53 crore for the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and Rs 899.22 crore for the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISERs).

The Centre also allocated Rs 400 crore for setting up world-class education institutes and announced ‘Study in India’ programme aimed at attracting foreign students to the country.

Presenting the first Budget of the NDA government in its second term, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will bring in a new national education policy to transform India’s higher education system into one of the best in the world.

The policy proposes major changes in both school and higher education, improved governance and gives more focus on research and innovation, for which a National Research Foundation (NRF) would be set up to coordinate and promote research in the country, she said.

“The NRF will ensure that the overall research ecosystem in the country is strengthened with focus on identified thrust areas relevant to our national priorities and towards basic science without duplication of effort and expenditure,” the minister explained.

Sitharaman said the funds available with all the ministries will be integrated in the NRF and would be adequately supplemented with additional funds.

She said massive online open courses through the SWAYAM initiative have helped bridge the digital divide for disadvantaged section of the student community.

SWAYAM is a government programme aimed at taking the best teaching and learning resources to all, including the most disadvantaged by bridging the digital divide.

To upgrade the quality of teaching, the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) programme in higher education was started, aimed at tapping the global pool of scientists and researchers, Sitharaman said.

The IMPRINT or IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology scheme began as a pan-IIT and Indian Institute of Science joint initiative to develop a roadmap for research to solve major engineering and technology challenges in selected domains needed by the country, she said. 

The minister said it is because of this that higher education institutions are now becoming the centres of innovation.

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