M A I N   N E W S

Higher studies get addl Rs 2,000 cr
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Rs 1,768 cr for Chandigarh,
Rs 50 cr for PU

The FM said Rs 50 crore would be allocated for Panjab University. The allocation for Chandigarh has also been considerably hiked this year to “provide better infrastructure for the people”. The Budget estimates for the UT stands at Rs 1,768.22 cr - Rs 573.57 crore more than what was provided in 2008-2009.

New Delhi, July 6
The government today set the ball rolling for reforms in higher education by increasing the budgetary allocation for the sector to Rs 9,600 crore, up by Rs 2,000 crore from the outlay in the Interim Budget presented earlier this year.

Overall allocation for education has also been significant at Rs 36,400 crore, which makes up for 35 per cent of the total outlay for the social service sector, where maximum budgetary support has been given this year.

Importantly, the entire increase in the human resource development sector has been pocketed this time by higher education, with funds for school literacy remaining the same as provided in the Interim Budget. Even allocations for flagship programmes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme remain unchanged, as compared to Budget estimates of Rs 13,100 crore and Rs 8,000 crore, respectively, made in the Interim Budget.

Powered by reform talks, higher education has emerged a clear winner, with the UGC getting Rs 4,375 crore, which includes provisions to implement recommendations of the oversight committee, to ensure 27 per cent OBC quota in all central higher education institutes and meet the requirement of enhanced number of students in the wake of reservation. Technical education has also got Rs 3,902 crore, including funds to roll out the quota policy.

But the new focus area is skill development, with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee saying in his speech,

“The demographic advantage India has in terms of a large percentage of young population needs to be converted into a dynamic economic advantage by providing them the right education and skills.” He also announced a full interest subsidy scheme on higher education loans for students from weaker sections. Five lakh students are expected to benefit from the scheme, for which money is yet to be set aside.

For skill enhancement, a whopping Rs 900 crore has been given to the National Mission in Education through ICT, which proposes to nurture human resources through specially designed modules.

“The scheme envisages effective utilisation of intellectual resources, certification of knowledge acquired either through formal or non-formal system and systematically building a database of capabilities, capacities and talent of country’s human resources,” reads the Budget document, which also provides Rs 495 crore for upgrading polytechnics under the skill development mission.

Further, Rs 827 crore has gone into the Budget for the operationalisation of central universities - one in each uncovered state.

Another Rs 2,113 crore has been set aside for IITs and NITs, including Rs 450 crore for the creation of new institutes.

Of the total budget of Rs 800 crore for IITs, Rs 600 crore would go only towards the implementation of the oversight committee recommendations on OBC quota and resultant enhanced student strength.



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