The newly appointed finance minister of our nation, Nirmala Sithraman rolled out the country’s Union Budget of 2019-2020 on the 5th of July. Each sector was allotted a certain sum of money. The education sector was allotted 94,853.64 crores.
According to the sources, the amount of 94,853.64 crores has been bifurcated, out of which 56, 536.63 crore is to be used for the school sector and 38,317.01 crore is to be used for the higher education sector. Under the amount allotted to the school sector, a majority of it is going to be used for the newly launched government scheme, the Samagra Shikha Abhiyan.
A total of 125 crores has been allotted for the teachers’ training and adult education which is much less as compared to the 2018-19 amount which stood at 871 crores. Further, the PM fellowships scheme fund of 75 crores in 2018-19 has been reduced to only 50 this year. The interest subsidy and contribution to education guarantee fund too has been brought down to 1,900 crores from 2,150 crores.
However, the mid-day meal program has been alotted 11,000 crores. In addition to this, a total of 609 crores is given for research and innovation. The finance minister stressed the importance of encouraging and promoting research in the nation. For this very purpose, she even proposed to set up a National Research Foundation (NRF). The major work of the foundation will be to fund research within the field of education which will take place in colleges and universities.
Under the higher education sector, the amount allocated to the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education has been reduced. Nevertheless, on the other hand, the central universities have been allocated with 6,843 crore and the IITs, with 6,410 crores. The IIMs are allocated with 445.5 crore which is much less as compared to last year. The Indian Institute of Management to has seen a significant drop in the funds. The finance minister while presenting the budget also mentioned that 400 crores will be allocated for building world-class institutions.
It is important to note that in a total budget of 27,86,349 crore, only 94,853.64 crores is given for the education sector. This means that only 3% of the total budget has been kept for education. In a country where many are still fighting for mere access to quality education, is only 3% enough?