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  India   All India  06 Jul 2019  Union Budget 2019: Govt gives big boost to higher education

Union Budget 2019: Govt gives big boost to higher education

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jul 6, 2019, 8:05 am IST
Updated : Jul 6, 2019, 8:05 am IST

A draft legislation for setting up Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), would be presented in the year ahead.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Union Budget for Modi 2.0 government. (Photo: ANI | Twitter)
 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Union Budget for Modi 2.0 government. (Photo: ANI | Twitter)

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government on Friday allocated Rs 400 crore for setting up world-class education institutes and announced “Study in India” programme that will aim at attracting foreign students to the country. Giving an impetus to reform in the education sector, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government will bring in a new National Education Policy to transform India’s higher education system to one of the best in the world.

The National Education Policy proposes major changes in both school and higher education, improved governance and focus on research and innovation, for which a National Research Foundation (NRF) would be set up to coordinate and promote research in the country, the minister said.  A draft legislation for setting up Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), would be presented in the year ahead.  

The funds available with all ministries will be integrated in NRF and would be adequately supplemented with additional funds, she said. The finance minister said to build "world-class institutions" in the field of education, Rs 400 crore has been allocated for the 2019-20 fiscal, which is over three times the revised estimates for the previous year. The finance minister also announced the “Study in India” programme that will focus on attracting foreign students to the country’s higher education institutes.

The Centre has earmarked Rs 94,853.64 crore outlay for the education sector for the fiscal 2019-20 in the Budget announced on Friday, an increase of over 13 per cent from the revised estimates of 2018-19 financial year. 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. In the last budget, NDA had allocated Rs  85,010 crore for the education sector which was later revised to Rs 83,625.86 crore.

A draft legislation for setting up Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) would be presented in the year ahead, she said, adding, "This will help to comprehensively reform the regulatory system of higher education to promote greater autonomy and focus on better academic outcomes."

She pointed out that there was not a single Indian institution in the top 200 in the world university rankings five years back. "Due to concerted efforts by our institutions to boost their standards and also project their credentials better, we have three institutions now — two IITs and IISc Bangalore — in the top 200 bracket. This window is open now thanks to our efforts. We will continue making concerted efforts to improve, the minister said.  The regulatory systems of higher education would be reformed comprehensively to promote greater autonomy and focus on better academic outcomes, Sitharaman added.

The minister said massive online open courses through the SWAYAM initiative have helped bridge the digital divide for disadvantaged section of the student community. To up-grade 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.

The IMPRINT or IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology scheme began as a Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative to develop a roadmap for research to solve major engineering and technology challenges in selected domains needed by the country. Higher educational institutions are becoming the centres of innovation, she added.

The draft new education policy prepared by a team of nine experts headed by space scientist K. Kasturirangan and made public on 31 May has said, “We have addressed this critical lacuna in this Policy by introducing, for the very first time a new National Research Foundation (NRF) that will focus on funding research within the education system, primarily at colleges and universities."

In the school sector the bulk of the allocation (Rs 36,322 crore) will be allotted to Samagra Shikha Abhiyan, a new scheme that amalgamates several school schemes including the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The mid-day meal program has been allocated Rs 11,000 crore or Rs 500 crore more than what 2018-19 budget estimates had pegged.

While teachers training has been a constant hype and debate point among academics, the budget allocates the teachers training and adult education only Rs 125 crore, a significant climb down from Rs 871 crore allocated in 2018-19 Budget estimate.

Tags: nirmala sitharaman, union budget 2019
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi