On Friday, while presenting the last interim budget under the BJP-led government, Union Minister Piyush Goyal announced the allocation of Rs. 93,847.64 crore for the education sector. This is a 10 per cent increase from last year’s budgetary allocation of Rs. 85,010 crore.
Of the total amount, Rs. 56,386.63 crore has been assigned for school education whereas Rs. 37,461.01 crore has been earmarked for higher education. The HRD ministry also revealed that through the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) funding mechanism, the government has made Rs. 17,000 crore available to this sector, and another Rs. 14,000 crore is also anticipated. This brings the total fund availability for 2019-20 for higher education to Rs. 69,193.68 crore, almost double the previous year.
Another Rs.2,100 crore has been given to HEFA to build high-quality infrastructure in higher education institutes. IITs have been allotted Rs. 6,223 crore whereas projects valued at Rs. 12,028 crore have been sanctioned from HEFA for the IITs. “Taking these into account, the fund availability for the IITs has more than doubled for 2019-20 as compared to the previous year. The central universities have been provided Rs. 6,484 crore. The UGC has been allocated another Rs. 4900 crore,” said the ministry.
The National Education Mission has been allocated Rs. 38,572 crore whereas Rs. 608.87 crore has been set aside for research and innovation. Additionally, the government has also proposed moving from black boards to digital boards to embrace a more ‘digital education. “A committee has been set up by the Department of Higher Education to work out the modalities to support ‘Operation Digital Board’ in all schools and to provide quality education by effective use of technology and telecom services,” said Goyal.
Goyal also proposed setting up two new Schools of Planning and Architecture’ (SPA) to be selected on challenge mode. Additionally, 18 new SPAs would be established in the IITs and NITs as autonomous schools, also on challenge mode, he said.