The University Grants Commission’s (UGC) budget allocation has been cut by almost 55 per cent, from Rs 9315.45 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 4286.94 crore in 2016-17. The UGC provides funds and maintains standards in institutions of higher education.
The UGC’s funding has declined with the setting up of a Higher Education Financing Agency and increased focus on the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan.
In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the Higher Education Financing Agency would be set up with an initial capital base of Rs 1,000 crore. The Financing agency will leverage funds from the market and supplement them with donations.
In the current financial year, a provision of Rs 1,300 crore has been made in the Budget for the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan, up from Rs 1,155 crore. Launched in 2013, the centrally sponsored scheme aims at providing strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions.
The total allocation for the department of higher education has increased to Rs 28,840 crore from Rs 25,399 crore. This amount includes provisions for various technical institutions. A sum of Rs 190 crore has been earmarked for setting up of new IITs and Rs 695 crore for IIMs.