Though the Modi government has announced an increase in the overall budgetary outlay on education, teachers training and adult literacy—key components to improve the quality of school education and scale up country’s literacy rate—witnessed a steep cut in allocations for 2019-20 fiscal.
The teachers training and adult literacy, a sub-component under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) of the ministry—saw a cut in its funding by 87.72 % over that of the last year with Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday allocating just Rs 150.40 crore on this head.
In the last fiscal, the budgetary estimate was Rs 870.7 crore.
The finance minister allocated a total of Rs 56,386.63 crore to the school education and adult literacy department of the human resource development (HRD) ministry. This is an increase in its budgetary outlay by 12.77% over that of the last fiscal. The Union government had earmarked a total of Rs 50,000 crore for the department in 2018-19.
The revised estimate later came at Rs 50, 113.75 crore.
The HRD ministry’s national scheme for incentive to girl child for secondary education also got lesser funds for this fiscal compared to that earmarked in 2018-19. While the budgetary outlay for the scheme was Rs 255.9 crore in 2018-19, it has come down to Rs 100 crore for the 2019-18 fiscal.
In the higher education sector, the government has shown its increased focus on giving a boost to innovation and research with the minister earmarking a total of
Rs 608.87 crore for 2019-18 as against Rs 350.23 crore allocated on this head in 2018-19.
However, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Science and Education Research (IISERs) and Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) witnessed a cut in government funding.
Highest cut for IIMs
The IIMs witnessed the highest and a steep cut in the budgetary grants.
The minister allocated Rs 6223.02 crore to the IITs for 2019-20, Rs 415. 41 crore to IIMs, Rs 660 to IISERs and Rs 363.34 crore to IIITs. In the last fiscal, the budgetary outlay for the IITs was 6,326 crore, IIMs Rs 1,036 crore, IISERs Rs 689 crore and IIITs
Rs 363.92 crore.
Goyal, while presenting the Union Budget, told the Lok Sabha that around 25% extra seats (approximately 2 lakh) will be created at the centrally funded higher education institutions to implement 10% quota in admission of candidates belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS) in general category, saying: “the poor have the first right on the resources of the nation.”
In the budgetary allocations made for 2019-20 fiscal, however, it remained unclear as to how the institutions will meet the financial burden of creating an additional 25% seats for implementation of the EWS quota.
The finance minister earmarked a total of Rs 6,604.46 crore for the central universities, slightly higher than what was allocated in the last fiscal.
In 2018-19, the government had earmarked Rs 6,445.23 crore to the central universities. “This is the budget that satisfies everybody,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said, describing the budgetary outlay announced for his ministry as “phenomenal.”