The education sector saw over a two per cent cut in the outlay announced in the Union Budget, even as the government proposed to set up new IITs and IIMs in some states. The slash in the education sector as compared to the revised allocation in 2014-15 is 2.02 per cent.
School education and higher education sectors have got Rs 69,074 crore. The revised estimate for 2014-15 was Rs 70,505 crore. The cut is, however, about 16.54 per cent if compared with the actual outlay the 2014-15 fiscal.
Notwithstanding the cut, HRD Minister Smriti Irani described the Budget as “pragmatic” and said she was “extremely grateful to the allocation of funds for higher learning and also about the thrust on innovation through funding”.
While the school education sector has got an outlay of Rs 42,219.50 crore for 2015-16, the higher education sector has got Rs 26,855 crore. The thrust has been on the higher education sector with the announcement of an IIT in Karnataka and upgradation of Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad into a full-fledged IIT, a long standing demand for the people in Jharkhand.
“I propose to set up an IIT in Karnataka, and upgrade Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad into a full-fledged IIT,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in his Budget speech. “IIMs will be setup in Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh,” he added.
The Minister also announced setting up of Institutes of Science and Education Research in Nagaland and Odisha. A Centre for Film Production, Animation and Gaming in Arunachal Pradesh and Apprenticeship Training Institute for Women in Haryana and Uttarakhand has also been proposed. Jaitley also announced the setting up All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam.
“Keeping in view the need to augment medical sciences in Bihar, I propose to set up another AIIMS like institution in these States,” the Finance Minister said. A Post Graduate Institute of Horticulture Research and Education has also been proposed in Amritsar and upgradation of the existing National Institute of Speech and Hearing in Kerala into a University of Disability Studies and Rehabilitation.
“I also propose three new National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Chattisgarh,” he announced. Bringing his focus to the education sector, he said that a student financial aid authority will be established to administer and monitor scholarships as well educational loan schemes through the ‘Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram’.
“We will ensure that no student misses out on higher education for lack of funds enable all poor and middle class students to pursue higher education of their choice without any constraint of funds,” he said. An integrated education and livelihood scheme called ‘NaiManzil’ will be launched this year to enable minority youth who do not have a formal school-leaving certificate to obtain one and find better employment, he said.
The Finance Minister also announced his government’s intention of upgrading over 80,000 secondary schools and add or upgrade 75,000 junior/middle to the senior secondary level to ensure that there is a senior secondary school within 5 km reach of each child. The Budget proposal also laid down new financing pattern for some flagship programmes in the education sector.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan and Mid Day Meal Scheme would now be fully finaced by the Centre. However, the ambitious programme of setting up of 6,000 Model Schools has been delinked from the central assistance and has been put to the state basket.
Schemes like Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan (RMSA) and Rashtriya Uchcha Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) will now be run under a new funding pattern.