Allocation for education up by 11.86%, Sitharaman announces slew of measures in Budget

The finance minister said programmes and partnerships with the industry will be reoriented to promote continuous skilling avenues, sustainability and employability
Last Updated : 01 February 2022, 15:53 IST

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With a key focus on online learning, the finance minister announced an allocation of Rs 1.04 lakh crore to the education sector. This is an increase of Rs 11,054 crore, or 11.86%, over the allocation in 2021-22.

Of this, Rs 63,449 crore was allocated to the Department of School Education and Literacy, which saw an increase of Rs 9,000 crore in allocation. The revised estimate for 2021-22 is Rs 88,001 crore. The lion’s share of the allocation for the education sector was set aside for samagra shiksha. It rose from Rs 31,050 crore in 2021-22 to Rs 37,383 crore in 2022-23.

Apart from that Rs 40,828 crore was allocated to the Higher Education Department, which is an increase of Rs 2,478 crore, or 6.6% over the allocation in 2021-22. The revised estimate for the current financial year was Rs 36,031.57 crore.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech, announced that the 12 TV channels that the government had started to help children catch up with their education under the pandemic, punctuated with lockdowns, will be extended to 200 channels across languages.

“One class-one TV channel’ programme of PM eVIDYA will be expanded from 12 to 200 TVchannels. This will enable all states to provide supplementary education in regional languages for classes 1-12,” Sitharaman said.

Sitharaman said that the PM eVIDYA is part of the government’s push for digital initiatives to reach out to children, especially marginalised children after the pandemic forced them out of schools for two years.

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“Due to the pandemic induced closure of schools, our children particularly in the rural areas and those from SC and ST communities and other weaker sections have lost almost two years of formal education. Mostly these are children in government schools. We recognise the need to impart supplementary training and to build resilient mechanisms for its delivery,” Sitharaman said.

In addition, Sitharaman announces a digital university and a high-quality digital content library. “The best public universities and institutions in the country will collaborate as a network of hub-spoke,” she said.

Santanu Mishra, co-founder and executive trustee of Smile Foundation, said that he welcomed the digital initiatives announced by the government. “The pandemic has preponed the induction of technology-aided education by at least a decade in India. We believe this intervention has the potential to further access and improve learning outcomes amongst children across India,” Mishra said.

Enakshi Ganguly of the HAQ Center of Child Rights said that the TV channel programme will leave out the children it intends to help – those from marginalised and weaker sections. “Recently a report, Locked Out: Emergency Report on School Education which surveyed children in 1400 households found out that only 1% of rural children and 8% of urban children access such programmes,” said Ganguly.

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Published 01 February 2022, 13:50 IST

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