Lower outlay for higher education to hit excellence: panel

Lower outlay for higher education to hit excellence: panel

Funds allocated for the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry in the Union Budget for 2018-19 is inadequate and will  defeat the government's "endeavour"  for  excellence in higher education, a parliamentary standing committee has said.

The committee, in its report tabled in Parliament on Thursday, noted that there was "a huge gap" between the projected demand and actual allocation for higher education in the general budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently.

The ministry's department of higher education had sought Rs 63,753.27 crore for 2018-19. However, the Finance Ministry allocated Rs 35,010.20 crore, almost half the demand for grants made by the department.

The increase in outlay was a mere 5.04% over last year.

"This reduced allocation of funds do not match the objectives of expansion and growth of higher education sector in the country and this would also defeat the endeavour to bring excellence," the panel, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Rajya Sabha member Satyanarayan Jatya, said.

The allocation "needs" to be enhanced, it opined.

The committee also suggested that the department of higher education review its "its overall mechanism," right from preparing proposals for demand for grants to the final expenditure incurred.

Assess spending

The department should also assess the outcome of the funds spent on various heads, including implementation of its various schemes in higher education sector.

"This would be helpful in making the budget more realistic and making its presence felt on the plan outlay to be formulated for the (higher education) department," the parliamentary committee noted in its report.

The Committee made specific recommendation for increasing the budgetary allocation for the central universities and the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) for their smooth functioning.

"The IISERs are premier institutions providing quality science education and any decrease in funding would adversely affect their functioning," the panel noted.

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